CryptoLocker is the WORST Virus I have ever seen. You need to know what it is, how it works and how to prevent it from destroying your files.
The video is a bit long, but what is more important than watching the entire video is that you become aware of this horrible virus and how to take steps to prevent it from destroying your files.
RansomWare is a new concept that many people are unaware of. Unlike a traditional virus that tries to disguise itself as an anti-virus, that asks you to pay them to activate or renew online, this one does not hide the fact that it is a virus. They specifically tell you to pay them about $400 to get your files back. Some variants even claim to tell you that this is a penalty for some kind of online activity.
The people behind this have made tens of millions of dollars in just a couple of months by specifically destroying all your personal files, then asking for ransom to get the password to get them back.
Once you are infected, an Anti-Virus will not help, because it encrypts nearly all your documents, videos, photos, databases, spreadsheets, PDFs, etc. on your computer with a military grade password that CANNOT be cracked. Once the files have been encrypted, there is no way to get them back without either paying the ransom, or restoring a backup.
Making matters worse, if you have a network or file server, CryptoLocker will not only encrypt all the files on your own computer, but every file you have access to on all your network shares. This is serious.
One reason this is growing so quickly is that the people who are behind it are using untraceable methods to get paid, such as BitCoin, which are the online equivalent of cash. In a nutshell, you are instructed to purchase two bitcoins, which currently are worth $200 each, then send them the BitCoins, which unlike a credit card, are not traceable.
IMPORTANT: Even if you have a backup, it's important that you have multiple versions backed up, because a daily backup that overwrites the prior day's backup will essentially be erasing your good backup with the bad versions of the files.
Your best defense is to have at least a few sets of backups taken a day or so apart. Never use the same backup two days in a row, or you are risking complete loss.
Another option is to back up using a cloud service like iDrive, that not only backs up your changed files every day, but it keeps 30 versions of each file, so if it backs up an encrypted file, you can restore the version from a day or two before.
Some say this form of economic terrorism is only just beginning. Their goal is to inflict damage to the worldwide economy. There is no doubt that the ransom money is going to fund ever more acts of worldwide anarchy... and the economic losses go far beyond the cost of the ransom itself. As larger and larger companies with networks eventually get hit with this virus, the cost in productivity and other resources are far worse.
-- Recent News -- Som of the people behind CryptoLocker have finally been shut down by police investigators, but there continue to be copycat ransomware / crimeware such as CryptoWall, CryptoDefence, Ransomcrypt, etc.. As I've said, this is just the beginning.
Be informed. Spread the word. Get started on those backups.