The CryptoLocker virus (or similar variants – CryptoWall, TorrentLocker, PC Lock) are still very active on the Internet. This family of viruses is known as ransonware and can effect computers and any connected networked devices. They are spread via email and / or infected websites.
The virus encrypts all files it has access to on your local computer which can include any network shares, USB hard drives, memory cards, backup system drives etc. Usually the first sign of infection is being unable to open files and / or noticing files names with the words decrypt or how to decrypt (eg DECRYPT_INSTRUCTIONS.txt) on your computer.
Currently the only way to decrypt the files is to pay a ransom fee, but this method may not work. Generally the only other way is to recover files from a recent backup.
This is a really nasty virus because its possible for your backups to be compromised depending on your backup strategy and network topology / server configuration.
Further information on the virus is available from the following link:
Keeping your antivirus up to date and ensuring your computer systems are to date on security and application patches is CRUCIAL to stop this virus entering your systems. You should regularly install any patches available from the MS Windows Update website and also update other software which includes – Java, Flash and any other applications installed on your system.
Check and double check that your backups work and ensure you backup to multiple devices which aren’t all connected to a machine or the network at the same time (ie an air gap backup).
We regularly assist clients in keeping their systems up to date and regularly perform such maintenance. We also help clients infected with this virus (but it is cricital that you contact us ASAP). If you need help please let us know – click here for our contact details.