3 Law Firms Attacked By CryptoWall Ransomware Virus – $50,000 Lost in Ransom Money
You have probably heard about the infamous Cryptolocker ransomware virus that first made headlines in 2013. Before the malware ring was cracked down by the FBI, it had affected over 500,000 people and netted over 3 million USD for its operators in ransom money. The Cryptolocker ransomware was distributed through the Zeus Trojan horse, a stealthy phishing malware affecting millions of computers around the world, especially the USA and other developed English-speaking countries.
Ransomware simply encrypts all your files once it gets installed on your computer by a virus or other malicious agent. It can encrypt the files in an entire network of computers, making it a deadly threat for companies and organizations. The files cannot be decrypted or opened because the key is kept by the attacker. In order to get the key and get access to your files, you have to buy the key from the attacker. The Cryptolocker criminals were charging $400 to unlock the files, paid through bitcoin.It was only after the Cryptolocker ring was busted by the FBI, that the victims were able to get access to their files via a special website called Decrypt Cryptolocker.
Despite shutting down Cryptolocker, new types of ransomware viruses are emerging, and one of them is called CryptoWall.In Vancouver, USA, three law firms have been attacked by the virus, and one firm paid $50,000 to recover their files.Ransomware operators are like hostage takers, they will give you a deadline to pay the money or else you will not get your files. The firm was given 72 hours to pay the money or kiss goodbye to the files.
If you don’t backup your files on a system that is not attached to your computer or network, then you will not be able to get a copy of your files. The virus can look deeper and encrypt files in removable hard drives that are attached to your network.
The worst thing about ransomware is that there is no way to unlock the files without the help of the hacker. If developers can create a strong encryption system for banks and online stores, what can stop blackhat developers from creating a similar encryption for criminal purposes?
There are multiple ways in which ransomware can be delivered on computers. It is most commonly delivered by phishing emails, however it can also be installed on your computer through fake tech support scams. You should watch out for fake emails in your inbox. Clicking links in phishing email will download malware on your computer.
How to Protect Yourself from Ransomware like CryptoWall
The threat of ransomware should be taken seriously because there is no way of unlocking your computer files once they are encrypted. Unless you have a backup, you are screwed. To protect yourself against ransomware viruses, you must do the following:
·Install CryptoPrevent.This antivirus program was especially made to block the Cryptolocker ransomware,but it can also block similar types of ransomware through its virus update.
·Program whitelisting: A program whitelist is an effective way to stop unauthorized programs from installing and running on your computer. Antivirus programs usually rely on an updated virus database to detect threats, leaving the possibility of unknown viruses to infect your computer. A program whitelist can stop unknown viruses and exe files from running on your computer.
·The Windows 7 Ultimate OS as well as the Enterprise Editions have a whitelisting feature called Applocker.If you don’t have the Applocker on your PC, you can whitelist programs using the Family Safety feature
·Make regular backups that are stored elsewhere, separate from the network e.g. on a cloud server like DropBox, OneDrive, Box.com or Google Drive.
·Computers with vital data should be disconnected from the internet. The ransomware virus is spread online through phishing email, disconnecting the backup servers from the internet will save your files from malware.