What you need to know
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has advised the public this week to protect themselves against two forms of malware known as GOZeuS and CryptoLocker. This malware is particularly damaging, with the potential to cost UK computer users millions of pounds.
Computers are typically infected by an email or website tricking a user into clicking a link or opening an email attachment which results in GOZeuS being downloaded and installed. GOZeuS runs in the background and monitors user activity until an opportunity arises to capture banking or other private information. If no opportunity arises the GOZeuS virus then installs CryptoLocker which then encrypts every file on the infected computer and on any accessible server. This encryption renders these files unreadable and demands a ransom payment be made in return for decrypting your files. Many people have paid the ransom and the decryption key was never provided.
How to protect yourself
According to the NCA, there is currently a two week window to protect users and reduce this threat. We recommend that more frequent anti-virus checks are run to ensure all systems have the latest anti-virus definitions. We would also suggest investing in an on-line, non-Windows based backup system as there is a risk that Windows-based backups could be encrypted and rendered useless. If you would like any further information, we would be happy to discuss costs and options with you.
Alongside these measures, we cannot stress the importance of user education and behaviour. We strongly advise that you bring this threat to the attention of company employees and ask them to be vigilant. They should not click on any attachments or links they are not expecting; a bank will never email you requesting personal information and you should not receive invoices for purchases not made. If there is any element of doubt do not open the email, download the attachment or click the link! Often these suspicious emails can come from people known to you, if you do receive an email or link and are in doubt contact the sender using an address or telephone number known to you and ask them to confirm whether the email or link is genuine.
We are confident that these measures will go a long way towards protecting your business. However, if you are still concerned, we are happy to talk through a range of enhanced security options.
By bringing this to your attention, taking a proactive and vigilant approach, we hope the effects of this malware can be limited for both our clients and the wider public.