A new malware warning was issued this week alongside a Cryptolocker virus removal tool and decryption service. Cryptolocker, new malware running rampant on the web right now, has taken a multitude of users computers for ransom, demanding those infected with the virus to pay up or see their encrypted files disappear forever. But now after weeks of the encryption ransomware plaguing the Internet, it seems it just got a little worse, as a new warning for the malware has emerged. Not only are the makers of Cryptolocker demanding your money for a private key to decrypt your encrypted files, if you don't pay up before the 72 hour time limit, the ante is upped from two or three hundred dollars, to 2,000 or more.
And don't even think about trying to remove Cryptolocker yourself, or attempting to find a private key decryption program outside of the one offered by Cryptolocker themselves, because there simply isn't one. In fact, those that go in search of some other tool that might remove Cryptolocker and decrypt encrypted files seized by the malware may find themselves with further woes as these softwares could also add more malware to your PC.
Cryptolocker File Decryption Service: Is It Safe And Should I Use It?
So how can you get your encrypted files decrypted and is there a safe tool for removal of Cryptolocker? It appears that just last week, the fiends behind this horrific Cryptolocker virus launched a new "customer service" feature to their malware called CryptoLocker Decryption Service. According to the advertisement on the Cryptolocker website,
"This service allows [sic] you to purchase a private key and decrypter for files encrypted by CryptoLocker." It appears those infected with the malware are treated as "Customers," unwilling, as they may be, who put in orders and receive an "order number" for decryption keys once they upload an encrypted file to the site. While the crooks behind the malware are very likely turning money hand over fist, many may wonder if they should break down and pay the fee to acquire the Cryptoplocker decryption service or hold off for some other solution. While early on many experts advised people not to pay the creators of Cryptolocker to decrypt their files, now it appears an increasing number are advising to go ahead and pay the money and get your files back. According to PC World it seems this quickly spreading malware is good. Very good. And the encryption was done quite well, so at this time there's no real solution other than to buck up and pay the fee.
What is Cryptolocker Ransomware? New Malware Warning Shows Price Of Removal Skyrockets After Three Days
For those who aren't really familiar with what Cryptolocker is and how it works, basically it is a form of malware that gets downloaded to an unsuspecting user's PC. Once it infects a computer, it displays a message letting the victim know that if they don't pay $300 or €300 in Bitcoins, or via MoneyPak within 72 hours, the unique decryption key for the files will be automatically destroyed. However, now the creators of Cryptolocker have changed the rules a bit. It seems the files aren't destroyed but they continue to be held ransom as the price past the 72-hour grace period, then skyrockets to $2000 or more.
Is There Any Other Way To Recover Files Encrypted By Crytoplocker ?
While some files may be recoverable via a method called Shadow copy recovery, chances are it won't restore everything.
(To learn more about shadow copy method, see Cryptolocker Virus Removal: How To Decrypt or Restore Encrypted Files And Remove Ransomware Malware For Free )
Help! I Accidentally Removed Cryptolocker. Now What?
So what happens if you accidentally deleted the malware from your computer, or your malware detection program wiped it clean from your computer? No problem, the crooks have thought of that now too. On the background of the computer, users will find a custom installed wallpaper with the web address of the malware decryption private key service written there. If you have been stuck by the ransomware Cryptolocker and need to have your files decrypted, the advice most experts are giving now is to go ahead and pay the fines, and pay them quickly.
How Can I Prevent Cryptolocker From Infecting My PC?
If you haven't acquired the Cryptolocker virus but worry about the safety of your computer, there are a couple tools you can use to help block CryptoLocker infections. Individual Windows users can use CryptoPrevent, by John Nicholas Shaw, of Foolish IT. Small business administrators on the other hand should look into the free tool from enterprise consulting firm thirdtier.net. The firm recently released a CryptoLocker Prevention Kit. This comprehensive set of group policies is incredibly useful for blocking CryptoLocker infections across a domain.
WATCH: Virus Advisory: CryptoLocker - How to Protect Yourself
In addition to these tools, however, users should practice extreme caution when checking emails and navigating the web. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind to help prevent viruses and other malware like Cryptolocker from making their way onto your computer.
- Update your computer's McAfee or other anti-virus software.
- Update your computer's operating system.
- Update all software on your computer, especially Microsoft Office, Adobe products, and Java.
- Be cautious about what attachments to email messages you open.
- Be cautious about what websites you visit.
- Do not download and install unfamiliar software, even if its maker claims it will prevent ransomware.
Have you been struck by the ransomware Cryptolocker?
VIRUS WARNING! Look out for the Cryptolocker virus, which hides as an email attachment.
— Innovative Tech (@INNOVATIVETECH1) November 8, 2013
WARNING: New virus CryptoLocker is showing up as documents from Wells Fargo, or other bank institutions. This email contains a zip file. — Hidden Services Co. (@hiddenserviceco) November 8, 2013
CRYPTOLOCKER WARNING-Dangerous new virus. Be cautious clicking on email attachments from FedEx, UPS or a Banking email.
— Am. Bank & Trust (@AmBank_News) November 7, 2013
CRYPTOLOCKER WARNING-Dangerous new virus. Be cautious clicking on email attachments from FedEx, UPS or a Banking email. — Am. Bank & Trust (@AmBank_News) November 7, 2013
A scary new malware is making the rounds, the Cryptolocker warning coming up @ 6:36 on News 10 Today. pic.twitter.com/JOVOrI580t
— David Andrews (@DavidWILX) November 7, 2013
Heads-up, our IT guys just sent a new virus/malware warning https://t.co/ywe4CKxudX - it infects via email attachments. — Tom (@BoreGuru) November 6, 2013
WARNING: New ransomware is most vicious, targeting specific Windows files destroying them if you don't pay. See http://t.co/B1Vq1dZMvp
— Wayne FitzSimons (@Fitzy) October 22, 2013