In the last few days rogue software CryptoLocker and GameOver Zeus have received a lot of attention following an announcement by the US and European officials that they have temporarily managed to disrupt the system used by the malware.
And according to the UK’s National Crime Agency, UK citizens will have a two-week window to reduce the threat by strengthening their computer’s protection.
BullGuard already protects you against these two viruses: it detects them and successfully cleans the infected machines.
However, you do need to ensure that you have the latest updates installed and that BullGuard is turned on. Do this, and you can be assured that you’re safe.
Keep it safe
However, if these conditions aren’t met and as a result CryptoLocker manages to encrypt your data, no one will be able to decrypt it and you won’t be able to access your files. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to regularly backup your files.
A short summary of CryptoLocker and GameOver Zeus
If CryptoLocker finds its way onto your computer it silently contacts its control and command servers and then receives instructions to begin encrypting files with specified extensions, for example Word and PDF documents. It’s known as ransomware because the victim’s files are encrypted and in order to decrypt them a ransom has to be paid.
GameOver Zeus on the other hand spies for personal information, such as banking credentials, and sends this data back to a botnet system. As well as losing personal data the infected computer also becomes part of the botnet.
Computer users are being urged to protect their machines from malware which allows hackers to steal financial data.
British investigators have been working with the FBI to trace the hackers behind ongoing attacks, and the botnet system used by the targets has been temporarily disrupted.
But the UK’s National Crime Agency says people have just two weeks before the system could be functioning again, and urged people to protect their computers from an expected “powerful computer attack”.
Bogachev is said to use the online monikers ‘lucky12345’ and ‘slavik’
Between 500,000 and one million machines have so far been infected worldwide, according to court documents.
US officials have accused a Russian hacker of masterminding the scam – and prosecutors say those involved have already raked in more than $100m (£60m).
The NCA is urging people to back up important files and make sure their security software and operating system are up to date.
Two pieces of malware software known as GOZeuS and CryptoLocker are responsible for the alert.
They typically infect a computer via attachments or links in emails.
If a user clicks on GOZeuS, it silently monitors activity and tries to capture information such as bank details.
“(The links or attachments) may look like they have been sent by genuine contacts and may purport to carry invoices, voicemail messages, or any file made to look innocuous,” the NCA warned.
“These emails are generated by other victims’ computers, who do not realise they are infected, and are used to send mass emails creating more victims.”
The Cryptolocker malware is activated if the first attack is not profitable enough.
It locks a user from their files and threatens to delete them unless a “ransom” of several hundred pounds is paid.
Some 234,000 machines were hit by Cryptolocker – bringing in $27m (£16m) in payments – in its first two months, the US Justice Department said.
Computers running Windows software are said to be most vulnerable
More than 15,500 computers in the UK are infected and “many more” are at risk, according to the NCA.
Stewart Garrick, a senior investigator with the NCA, told Sky News the threat was mainly against individuals or businesses running Windows-based computers.
Thirty-year-old Russian Evgeniy Bogachev is the alleged leader of the gang behind the attacks, FBI executive assistant director Robert Anderson told a news conference in Washington DC.
US and other agents seized servers around the world this weekend and freed 300,000 computers from the infection.
“They (the FBI) have disrupted the network and taken control of it,” said Sky’s Tom Cheshire.
“So when the hackers try to speak to the computer that’s affected, that line of communication has been cut off.
“You now have a chance to clean up. The first thing you should do is update your operating system – especially if you’re on Windows, then look to scan your computer for viruses and it should be able to find it.”
For more information visit www.getsafeonline.org/nca.
What SG Recommend,
To ensure that your computer does not get infected we recommend the following:
- You are a running an up to date Operating System For example Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. If you are currently running Windows XP then you will have a high risk of getting infected. If you are running Windows XP then we recommend that you upgrade NOW!
- Make sure that you have installed ALL Windows updates for your computer.
- Install a premium Anti-Virus package to ensure that you have the best protection for your computer, some of the free products will not give you enough protection.
- Just because you have an Anti-Virus product installed does not mean it is running efficiently, make sure that your Anti-Virus is running properly and is fully up to date.
- Make sure you have a backup of all your data, this includes Photos, Documents, Videos and emails. If you do not have a backup and you are infected with the Crypto Lock malware then your data will be lost forever. Make sure this does not happen to you!
Unfortunately our webserver will be down for essential maintenance Today at 3:00 PM for a few hours, Sorry for any inconvenience
We know that many of our customers have been waiting for this time to come and now it has. Tuition is now available in the shop on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10am till 3pm.
We can either work on your PC or Laptop or you can use our Tuition PC but familiar is better so we recommend that you bring your own.
We do a range of tutorials here are some of them;
- Windows 8 and 8.1
- Apple Mac, iTunes, iPhone, iPod and iPad Support
- The Basic’s
- Backup your files and folders
- Email Setup and Support
- Software Support*
- And many more.
To get started pop into the shop or give us a call to book an appointment for your first 30 minute slot.
Q: Do i need to book an appointment?
A: Yes, this way we can make sure that we don’t double book and we can spend the right amount of time with our customers.
Q: If I bring my Tower PC do i need my Mouse and Keyboard Etc.?
A: No, we have all the equipment here just bring your Tower nothing else.
Q: If I bring my Laptop do i need my charger?
A: Yes, it will be necessary to bring your charger.
Q: Can I bring my own equipment such as Digital Camera’s, Printer’s etc.
A: Yes, bring them along so we know how your equipment works as ours may be different to what you are use to.
Any other questions you need answering please don’t hesitate to ask.
*Subject to software availability and compatibility, Terms and conditions apply,