I am including the Crypto Locker info from the last newsletter as well as some new info below:
On a more serious note, there is a not so new player in the world of malware called ransomware.
The most prevalent is a program called Crypto Locker that encrypts your drive and forces you to pay to regain access to your files. This program can do some serious damage and having an automatic backup isn't a foolproof fix because if your backup updates before you notice being infected your backup may now be encrypted.
Fortunately, all is not lost because better Antivirus and Anti-malware will catch Crypto Locker if the programs are kept up to date. A few tools mentioned in previous newsletters are also helpful. Sandboxie protects your computer when programs are run within it, so running your browser or possibly your email program in Sandboxie would protect you. Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) by the Air Force would also help. I use LPS to surf the web but remember that attached flash drives may be affected by bad programs or sites. The respective websites are below.
Crypto Locker has been shut down and some security researchers have found the repository for the encryption keys that would allow ransomed files to be decrypted. As with everything, take it with a grain of salt but if your files were encrypted you have little to lose. I recommend submitting a "junk" file with no PII or importance to obtain your key and testing it on a few more "junk" files, if you get a key, before using on more important files. Do not become complacent! The folks responsible for this made a great deal of money and it will most certainly be replicated.
The link to see if your key is available is below:
As always the full site URLs are listed for those of you following the best practice of not clicking links.
Thanks for reading,