The Latest Ransomware: Everything You Need To Know
Ransomware first hit the headlines back in 2013 with several variants since, each becoming more and more sophisticated. The bad news is that there is a new variant which has been recently released that is even worse than previous versions.
“Locky” – the nickname of the latest strain will not only rename your files so that they have the extension .locky but like all ransomware variants it will encrypt them first making them inaccessible to the end-user. It has been known to target images, videos and Office documents first before moving onto to other file types. It might also target data stored on other machines via network drives.
The main source of this threat seems to be via spam emails with seemingly safe attachments, often Word documents which contain malicious code. Once this malware has hit the desktop background will typically be altered to display a message with decryption instructions that state it is possible to make a payment to these criminals in order to obtain the decryption key that could be used to unscramble these files.
It is generally accepted that paying the ransom is not an option as you cannot guarantee that you will receive a decryption key or that it will indeed work. That leaves the option of restoring from a recent backup once the machine is free of this malware. Most antivirus products will detect the latest ransomware but we would recommend using an award-winning ESET product to ensure that your machine is fully cleaned.
In terms of prevention, ensuring that your antivirus software is up-to-date and that you have a robust backup procedure in place will help in the event that you are hit. Always be wary of spam emails containing hyperlinks and/or email attachments, particularly if they come from an unknown source.
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