CryptoLocker is one of the newest viruses out there. Also known as ‘ransomware’, this targets computers that are running Microsoft Windows. CryptoLocker usually comes in the form of an email attachment, and tends to target Office documents and PDF’s. It will encrypt these files and try to force you to pay money to get them unencrypted. There is only a three-day window of time in which you can pay this ransom for them to give you back your encrypted files. After this time frame has passed, you can no longer pay to have your files unencrypted.
Although you can remove CryptoLocker, un-encrypting the files will prove near impossible. The best way to protect yourself against this type of attack is to make sure to regularly back up your data on your computer. If your information is backed up, then you can simply restore your data to a previous state before infection occurred.
Unsure how to perform a back-up of your computer? Follow these simple steps:
1. Open the Backup and Restore Center (Start button, Control Panel, System and Maintenance, Backup and Restore Center)
2. Click Backup Files button
3. Choose where to save your data. You can choose from a CD, DVD, external hard drive, USB drive, or a computer on the network. It is NOT recommended that you back up on the same drive Windows is currently running on.
4. Choose what type of files to backup. Choose from pictures, music, videos, documents, etc. Choose only the file type that are most important to you. Click next.
5. Choose how often you would like to back up (daily, weekly or monthly) and then the day and time for backups to occur. Click the Save and Start Backup button.
If this is the first backup you are performing on your computer, it will create a full backup- that is, everything on your computer will be backed-up. All future backups will be incremental, which is just the new or changed files on your computer.