On 2nd June, the National Crime Agency warned that we have just two weeks to protect ourselves from cyber attacks that are believed to have stolen and extorted hundreds of millions of pounds worldwide. Now, the two week opportunity is over, but it is still vital that you take action to protect against these malicious softwares.

Here’s what you need to know about Cryptolocker and GOZeus.

In recent months, the number of viruses and spam attacks found in emails and on our computers has dramatically increased, including ‘extremely sophisticated’ malware that can remotely control your computer and extort money from bank accounts.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) along with other international bodies such as the FBI and Europol’s European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) worked together to take down the servers of the criminals responsible for these malware. The NCA announced that on 2nd June, the FBI had successfully took hold of these servers, leaving an approximate two week window for computer users to remove and protect themselves from upcoming threats before the cyber criminals became back in action.

The first major threat is GameOver Zeus, or GO Zeus, which can steal bank details from infected computers; the FBI believes that losses caused by this botnet totals over $100 million worldwide.

This works closely with Cryptolocker, a malware that extorts money from victims through ransom payments. This ransomware locks users out of their files, encrypts them, then demands a payment before decrypting them. Cryptolocker and GO Zeus’ encryption is said to be so sophisticated, that a takedown is extremely difficult to do, so protecting your computer from any risk of infection is vital, especially now the two week gap has closed and the window is open for the cyber criminals to act again.

What To Look For

Both Cryptolocker and GO Zeus infect computers via email spam and phishing, with the malicious softwares being downloaded through email attachments, including .zip files which may be hidden as .doc.zip, for instance.

These emails may look and sound as if they come from official sources, such as a bank or a delivery company, but if you have a closer look, you may notice that the sender’s address, or the contents of the message, is in fact suspect. On the other hand, the sender may be an organisation that you never do business with, for example, but yet are still ‘contacting’ you. It is vital that you do not open these emails or the attachments.

How To Prevent An Infection

Octagon Technologies, based in Branston, near Lincoln has provided some simple tips to help keep your computers safe from infections:

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited emails with attachments
  • If you receive an email from a contact that looks suspicious, ring your contact to see if it legitimate
  • Use reputable anti-virus and anti-malware software
  • Develop a back-up policy for your business

Other Options

Your internet and hosting providers will be able to advise on what to do, but for customers who host with our sister company, Red Cloud Hosting, here are some more options to help protect your computers from any potential virus and malware infections in the future.

Email Virus Scanning – £29.99 per year (unlimited email accounts)

Virus scanning systems stop emails at the server so you don’t have to deal with them yourself. The software automatically updates every hour so it always knows about the latest viruses on the Internet. Each virus scanner you buy will totally protect one specified domain.

Website Virus and Malware scanning – £14.99 per year (per website)

This provides website owners with the tools needed to scan files and identify viruses and malware that has been injected in to their website. Daily scans and email notifications alert you to any detected threat instantly. It is designed to help you ensure that you are aware of issues on your site before your visitors are affected or your reputation damaged.

Website back-ups – £9.99 per year (per website)

Premium back-ups take daily backups of all websites and databases without you having to worry about doing it yourself, automatically protecting against data loss. Daily snapshots of every one of your websites is taken and are kept for a rolling 30 days. This means you can restore a website from any point in the last 30 days.

More Information about Cryptolocker and GOZeus

If you are a customer of ours, and you have noticed an increase in spam emails, please let us know; we can update and enable our anti-spam filters very quickly.

For any other questions, please get in touch.