How to recover from a CryptoLocker attack

CryptoLocker is a trojan which targets computers running Microsoft Windows. It may come in several forms, often disguised as a legitimate email attachment. Or, it may be uploaded to a computer already recruited to a botnet during a previous trojan infection.

When activated, CryptoLocker encrypts files (e.g., photos and those with Microsoft Office, OpenDocument, and AutoCAD file extensions) using RSA public key cryptography and with the private key stored only CryptoLocker’s control servers. This renders the files inaccessible to the user.

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Staying safe online, Part II: Malware

As we learned in the first installment of this series, there are several attack vectors that spammers can use to compromise your system via email. Similarly, there are many types of computer programs that can infect your system via Web sites, social networks, software downloads, USB and optical drives, and peer-to-peer networks.

These programs include viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and keyloggers. Collectively, these nefarious programs are called malware. Malware is software that compromises the operation of a system by performing an unauthorized function or process.

With so many different malware threats, how can you protect your system? Here is a list of seven things you can do right now to harden your defenses against the most common threats:

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Staying safe online, Part I: Spam

The Internet, computers, and mobile devices have become omnipresent fixtures in our everyday lives. This makes it easy to check email, connect with an old friend or colleague, confirm your checking account balance, or look up a recipe for tonight’s dinner from almost anywhere.

Unfortunately, all of this wonderful connectivity and functionality have come at a price. Because we’re connected to the Internet almost all of the time, it’s appallingly easy for anonymous strangers with malicious intent to wreak havoc on our lives using little more than a laptop and the free Wi-Fi connection at a corner cafe.

Over the course of the next few articles I will discuss some of the most pervasive threats endemic to the Internet and what you can do to protect yourself from them.

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