CryptoLocker is the most frightening, advanced, and effective virus affecting PC users today.
CryptoLocker locks down important files on your system and holds those files for ransom under encrypted lock and key.
Unlike other types of ransomware, there doesn’t appear to be any way to remove CryptoLocker and unlock your files. The only way is to pay the ransom, which tends to be between $100 and $300.
Some antivirus software can remove CryptoLocker, but it can’t remove the encrypted lock on your computer files. That’s why CryptoLocker is causing computer users all over the world to freak out.
Want to avoid CryptoLocker and avoid putting hundreds of dollars into a criminal’s pocket? Today, I’m going to explain how to avoid the dangerous ransomware and protect your PC’s most important files:
Use good antivirus software
Antivirus software isn’t nearly as important today as it was a few years ago. Most of the popular antivirus software doesn’t detect dangerous threats for two reasons: the virus is specially designed to avoid that specific antivirus software. Or, the antivirus software isn’t updated frequently enough to avoid the day-to-day changes in the virus industry.
There aren’t a lot of good antivirus software programs that let you defeat CryptoLocker, but here are some companies that have promised to do just that:
-Kaspersky (doesn’t prevent the virus but blacklists many known domains from where the CryptoLocker virus spreads)
-Other cloud-based antivirus software (if it’s not cloud-based, it’s probably not going to protect you from CryptoLocker)
Obviously, the list of antivirus solutions for CryptoLocker is currently quite small. Most antivirus manufacturers are actively looking for ways to protect their users from the dangerous ransomware.
Never open email attachments from unknown sources
CryptoLocker has primarily spread through Trojan email attachments. The email appears in your inbox from a legitimate company or from a user who has been infected by a botnet attack.
The attachment is generally disguised as a PDF but is really an .exe file. When you open the file, your computer is instantly infected. The virus starts in your My Documents folder and encrypts virtually everything it sees.
An .exe file in disguise may have a file name like this:
Don’t fall for these tricks. Always check file format on downloaded files by right-clicking and going to Properties, then look under Type of file for its status as either an .exe or a .pdf.
Backup your OS to cloud storage
This tip won’t help you avoid CryptoLocker but it will help you avoid losing all of your valuable data because of it.
Back up all your data to cloud storage or to an external hard drive (provided this external hard drive is typically not connected to your PC). If you’re one of the unfortunate people who has been infected by CryptoLocker, then you can simply restore your OS from that backup or transfer your files back onto the operating system.
There aren’t many good ways to protect your computer from CryptoLocker. Avoiding email attachments and malicious websites is the only effective way to avoid CryptoLocker – and it’s not a sure bet.
Always check file format before you open a downloaded file. Even the most innocent PDF from a trusted contact could be an .exe file in disguise.
Remember: the average ransom price for CryptoLocker is $300 in the United States. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that as much as 40% of users are paying the ransom.
Really, if you’re infected and don’t have backups of your files, then you have no other choice.