About five months ago, a computer hack made its way through over 600,000 computers called CryptoWall Ransomware. PCWorld reported over 5 billion files were encrypted. The virus quieted down in November, but now it is back and the hack’s main target is law firms.
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The version circulating from British Columbia down through North America has been dubbed CryptoWall 3.0 by attackers, according to ComputerWorld. The program relies on ransomware, encrypting the files of affected computers and offering a decryption key for $500 in Bitcoin currency. CryptoWall finds its way into your system through weak points in outdated browsers. The ransomware can also connect to a computer through malware that is already installed on the computer.
The 3.0 version targets computers based on location. Global News reported that 3 law firms in British Columbia had to pay to get their files back. Depending on the location, the virus may present ransom retrieval instructions in a different language, such as French.
Mark Dryer, president of MDL Technology, said, “We have dealt with various instances of it. Luckily, we have been able to restore from backup to resolve the issue. On one instance, the customer lost three days of work.” Dryer recommends a few security measures you can take to prevent CryptoWall from ransoming your data.
- Increase Protection with Next Generation Firewalls. Installing a next generation firewall allows companies to have more control over their applications. They also perform deep inspections to detect and block threats, like CryptoWall.
- Use Complex Passwords. Ask all users to choose complex passwords with at least one number and one symbol.
- Double-check Virus Software for Servers and Desktops. Even if you think you have virus software installed on servers and desktops, double check it. Make sure the software is still working and that you are running on the latest update.
- Keep Browsers and Operating Systems Updated. The vendor should provide security patches to install on browsers and systems.
- Backup, Backup, Backup. Before CryptoWall hits you, make sure all of your files are safe in a backup hard drive. Dryer says, “Part of the process of verifying that backups are working is to perform a test restore.” If the worst happens and CryptoWall finds you, you will not have to pay the ransom since all your files are safe in another location. Dryer also advises, “We are also recommending cloud based backup solutions for mobile users that store data on their local laptops.”