In 2014, CryptoWall, a new and improved copycat version of CryptoLocker has exceeded  in infection rates, and now in 2015 they are making new waves around the globe, infecting more computers.

Crypto virus family is a malicious program known as ransomware, making rounds typically hitting computers via email attachments or via botnets, demanding money from users, in exchange for the encryption of users’ data held hostage.

Just at the end of 2013, the year CryptoLocker version first made appearance, an estimated 30 million dollars were paid to the criminals; there is no estimate available in 2015 just yet.

CryptoLocker Screenshot

CryptoLocker Warning Screenshot complete with timer countdown

University of Kent conducted a survey determining that 41% alleged victims said that they had decided to pay the ransom; this suggest that almost every other person affected by this virus is paying out. That begs the question – if your computer system was taken hostage, will you be paying the ransom for your data?

The fact that criminals demand payment by either Bitcoin or a pre-paid cash voucher, makes payments virtually untraceable, allowing crooks to get away with this crime – reportedly, with more money now, since the ransom amount has increased to $500 in some cases.

Private and Business data is affected

While message warn that “Your personal files are encrypted”, the ransomware actually does not discriminate the files nature. Any type of data – personal and business can get encrypted and held hostage. Data that is stored on your local desktop and storage devices such as USB flash drives, external drives and mapped network drives, connected to your computer will be vulnerable to these attacks.

Targeting Microsoft users, CryptoLocker’s recent reappearance had taken more unsuspecting users’ data hostage now in 2015, according to recent news postings, including Unbreakable computer virus makes Australian users pay ransom and Infecting and Collecting: Hackers on the Rise.

While ransomware prevent you from accessing Windows, encrypt your data demanding money in exchange for decryption, and stop some applications from running, other computer viruses may modify or destroy your data behind your back, without obvious signs or any warning. Check out our Top 10 Computer Virus Symptoms Checklist.

The 2 most important things you must do to guard your data is to make sure it is protected, and in case where it may not be, that your data may be restored. So make sure you:

  • Keep your legally purchased, high-grade Anti-virus software up-to-date; and
  • Backup your data regularly.

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While a good anti-virus solution is a must for any computer user, it will not give you a 100% guarantee that your data is always protected. Computer viruses are being “born” and keep “evolving” every day now. Regular backup of your data is always a good idea to ensure that your data can be recovered when you need it.

More on ransomware

During the last 2 years, we posted several articles about the Cryptolocker and other Crypto ransomware you can browse for more information and screenshots:

Crypto Ransomware Family grows: what you need to know about CryptoWall trojan

CryptoWall is the new an improved version of ransomware such as CryptoBit, Cryptolocker, and CryptoDefense…

CryptorBit Alert – and 6 Quick facts about this harmful virus

CryptorBit Screenshot This threat is not quite new – CryptorBit ransomware virus was first introduced in late in 2013 on the tail of the CryptoLocker we reported on several times last year; but CryptoBit has a new spin, and has been increasingly active in the recent days. 6 Quick facts about CryptorBit

Beware of CryptoLocker Trojan Ransomware

CryptoLocker, detected by Sophos as Troj/Ransom-ACP, a malicious program known as ransomware, is making rounds hitting computers via email attachments or via botnets. Here is an example of an email containing a Trojan file hidden in Excel document…

New Email Based Attack – a fake INCOMING FAX REPORT

A new line of bogus emails are being sent out with a malicious cause. Beware of CryptoLocker Trojan Ransomware, an email is sent claiming that you have received an incoming e-fax and to get the fax you need to click the link contained within the email…