Ever since the announcement of the discovery of a new and particularly dangerous virus called CryptoLocker, consumers and IT professionals have been searching for information about how to block CryptoLocker Ransomware.

Once installed, ransomware encrypts data and prevents it from being accessed or unlocked without the correct security key being input. Unfortunately, it is not possible for the encryption to be cracked.

CryptoLocker Ransomware has been designed to make it almost impossible for businesses to continue trading unless they pay criminals considerable sums of money to release their data. System files are targeted and locked with two separate types of encryption. The victim is then instructed to pay a ransom or their files will be deleted. Payment must be made using Moneypak or Bitcoin, so the funds are untraceable.

The criminals behind the malware are not concerned about whose system is infected. They just want as many people as possible to pay their ransoms. The first infections required a ransom of $100 to be paid to unlock computers. That price has now risen to $300 with the latest version of the malware. However, there is no telling what ransom will be demanded. Anyone infected is at the mercy of the criminals behind the malware attack.

Payment must be made quickly and the threats of file deletion are very real. If payment is not made within 72 hours of the virus being installed, files are deleted forever.

CryptoLocker Ransomware has been shared and downloaded via social media networks, although many victims have received the virus via infected email attachments. The email is sent indiscriminately from an unknown sender and contains ZIP or EXE files infected with the virus.

How to Block CryptoLocker Ransomware

It is possible to prevent a computer or server from being infected by simply deleting a spam email containing the virus. However, it is not easy to tell whether a .exe or .zip file is genuine, or if it contains the virus. The simple solution is to avoid downloading or opening these file attachments. Individuals should be wary about these attachments anyway as they are often used to install viruses or malware.

IT professionals need to be particularly careful. The more employees an organization has, the greater the risk of individuals downloading or opening the malicious attachments. It is strongly advisable to send out a virus warning via email to all business email accounts warning of the new virus. Regardless, some staff members will not read the emails or will ignore the advice provided and install CryptoLocker.

The best way to block CryptoLocker Ransomware is to use an Anti-Spam solution such as SpamTitan. SpamTitan Technologies Anti-Spam software can detect CryptoLocker Ransomware and prevent the malware from being installed by quarantining the email. This will ensure end users’ computers and personal devices are protected. If a business has its network or computers taken out of action, the cost of decrypting is unlikely to be $300. The criminals can name their price.

Have you backed up your data?

If your computer or network has been infected it does not mean that you will lose everything. You can restore your data from a backup, but that would require a current backup to have been made. It is therefore vital to conduct data backups regularly to protect against ransomware. They should be scheduled to ensure they are never missed.

You should also test your backups to make sure that data can actually be restored. Restoring data from backups can be labor and time intensive. Systems can be taken out of action and business lost as a result. The cost of implementing solutions to prevent CryptoLocker and other malware infections is likely to be far lower than the cost of removing viruses and malware from a network.