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What is Ransomware?

Probado believe that keeping users informed of potential security issues before they arise is the first line of defence against any kind of cyber threat. With that in mind we’d like to inform the community of the substantial increase in Ransomware in 2015.

Ransomware is a term used to identify a type of virus attack that either holds your computer system or data to ransom. Once on a machine, these viruses silently work in the background encrypting your valuable data without your knowledge. Then, when you next come to access them you find that they look somewhat different and are unable to be opened. Also you may see a notice stating that your files have been “protected” and a payment is needed to unlock them. The two most common threats recognised for 2015 at present are listed below, named Cryptowall and Cryptolocker:


What are the Symptoms?

As well as the images above, the first signs of infection can be seen below. As the users files become encrypted you may see new/additional files appear in locations you use frequently on your computer. When you try to open files commonly accessed files you may encounter messages such as “The file is corrupted” or “unable to open file” indicating files cannot be accessed.

How would I get infected?

Typically these kinds of attacks come in through via email or attached to some downloaded software. The more common types of subject lines via email include: Invoices, Orders, resumes, Fax Jobs or delivery of goods (but we have seen other variants also).

What to do if you find yourself a victim?

If you find yourself infected and seeing any of the symptoms shown. Shutdown your PC as soon as possible and contact your IT provider. They should have the knowledge to remove the infection and implement remediation procedures. Its important to recognise that if you pay this ransom, there is absolutely no guarantees your files will be unlocked (In actual fact there have been reports online of users paying the ransom, their files being unlocked, and less than a week later being hit again).

How can I stay protected?

Anti-spam – If your IT provider offers anti-spam solutions, these will help catch most types of spam and virus emails before hitting your inbox, substantially reducing the risk.

Back-ups – We can’t stress enough how important it is to keep backups up to date. With these types of attacks, once your files have been encrypted there is no way to decrypt them (the technology required to do so resides on the cyber criminals servers and can’t be reproduced).

Be Vigilant – If the sender is unknown to you and it contains an attachment. Consult your IT provider. They’re there to help. It takes 2 seconds to  check an email but can take a whole day to perform data recovery. All of which is down time for you.

If you would like more information on staying protected. Please feel free to contact Probado on 01484 905103.

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