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How to Protect Your Business from CryptoLocker

03 May 2016

Your data is vitally important to your business so you need to take every step possible to keep it secure. There is no shortage of malware programs out there that are designed to extort money by interfering with the functionality of your computer and targeting your data. One of the most troublesome pieces of software currently out there is known as CryptoLocker.

CryptoLocker has become the generic term for a type of software known as ransomware. Ransomware is so-named because it effectively holds the files on your computer ransom until you pay to get them unlocked. Although the software itself is not particularly difficult to remove, getting access to your files is extremely difficult since they’ll be encrypted in a way that’s virtually impossible to break.
Steps to take to avoid CryptoLocker

Below are some of the best ways to avoid falling victim to CryptoLocker and other forms of ransomware.

• Never open email attachments from unknown sources – The most common way that computers become infected with CryptoLocker is through email attachments. Because of this you should never open any attachments unless you’re entirely certain of what they contain. Most unsolicited emails will already be sent to your Spam folder but you should always avoid opening any attachments that you don’t recognise.

• Back up your data regularly – One of the best ways to ensure that you’re safe from ransomware is to back up your files regularly. If the software does get through and does its job then it’s almost impossible to access your files so the best course of action will be to restore your computer.

• Filter out emails containing .exe files – Since CryptoLocker is commonly delivered as an executable file via email attachment, one of the best ways to avoid it is by filtering out any emails that contain .exe files. This might not be practical for every business so an alternative is to change Window’s settings to show hidden file extensions. This means the emails will still get through but you’ll be able to clearly see what type of files are attached and make a decision on whether to download them or not.

• Keep your systems up to date – Although it’s common for CryptoLocker to be delivered through email attachments, it’s not the only way that a computer can become infected with it. Another way that CryptoLocker (and other forms of malware/ransomware) is delivered is by exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated software. Browser plug-ins can be particularly vulnerable to this type of threat. Because of this you should ensure that any software on your computer(s) is completely up to date, including any browsers. It’s a good idea to enable automatic updates when installing any new software too.

• Invest in good security software – The most reliable way to avoid the treat of CryptoLocker and other forms of malware is to have multiple levels of protection in place. This means having good anti-malware software as well as a firewall. Malware authors are constantly looking for new ways to avoid detection so relying on anti-malware software alone is not a good idea.

• Consider cloud data storage – Although there are still plenty of business owners who are adverse to the idea of storing company data in the cloud, it can actually make it more secure, especially where software such as Cryptolocker is concerned. When your files are stored remotely, they’re not vulnerable to ransomware such as CryptoLocker since it’s designed to lock the files that are stored on your computer’s hard drive only.

If security is a concern for you then be sure to download our FREE 15 Point Security Checklist.

If you have any questions about CryptoLocker or would like to find out more about how Grant McGregor can help make your business more secure then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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