Common Types of Cryptolocker
Though the ends results are the same, you may fall prey to the cryptolocker ransomware attack in a few different ways. It’s important to note that this virus must be downloaded to infect your computer, so avoiding all suspicious websites or email attachments is a major first step in self-protection.
The most common way your computer becomes infected with cryptolocker is in fact through harmless looking email attachments. Often, they’ll appear as a regular *.doc or PDF, but contain a hidden *.exe file that installs itself on your computer once you downloaded the attachment.
You might also pick up this malware from a website that prompts you to download a plug-in or video player. Clicking on drive-by ads, those flashy images that appear on the side of your browser, can also open the gate for ransomware if you’re not careful. Hackers are expert at hiding in plain sight.
For companies with remote employees who access their server via a Remote Desk Protocol (RDP), there’s a risk that you’re opening yourself up to attack as well. Savvy hackers can exploit weaknesses in your firewall, make themselves an administrator of your network, and hold your data for ransom.
Ways to Get Decrypted Without Paying the Ransom
With your personal or business information at risk, falling victim to these kinds of attacks can make one feel powerless. For many people who are affected, their first instinct is to pay the ransom.
But this is rarely the best first option if a good option at all. More often than not, around 80% of the time, paying the ransom does not result in the victim recovering his or her data. Whether the hacker is simply unable or unwilling to, you run a great rest in spending money and still having nothing to show for it.
And, even worse, paying a hacker the ransom that they are demanding can incentivize them to hack you again.
Before paying a ransom, find any available backups of your data. Great personal practice for individual users as well as large companies to back up their data regularly. This will make it easier to recover from an attack.
If this fails or is not an option, there are a number of decryption tools available for free that you should consider. Some of these tools are relatively user friendly and others require at higher level of tech savvy. But taking the time to combat this ransomware attack through decryption tools may save you money not to mention help you get your data back.
How to Pay the Ransom
So what do you do if your defenses fail and your backup plan to restore your data is unsuccessful? If you feel like you've exhausted your options, and the breached data is both vital and not backed up properly, you may consider paying the ransom and hope that the hackers are honorable thieves and return your data.
As the cryptolocker name suggests, it will require cryptocurrency too pay for the removal of any ransomware. You'll want to use a reputable Bitcoin exchange, providing you with as much security and comfort as possible when you make your transaction.
Some hackers are beginning to move away from Bitcoin in favor of newer, lesser known exposed cryptocurrencies. Victims of ransomware should pay close attention to messages received from their hackers, especially if they have determined to pay the ransom.
Because time is of the essence and often files are deleted in stages to further terrorize victims and incentivize payments, it’s a smart idea for those who worry about succumbing to this kind of attack to have an active cryptocurrency wallet in case quick action is needed.