Protect your computer from GoZeus-Cryptolocker
The UK National Crime Agency has announced that we only have two weeks to protect ourselves from the highly advanced GoZeus-Cryptolocker malware. These nasty pieces of code are designed to scan and steal valuable information such as banking details. If it doesn’t find what it’s looking for then Cryptolocker is used to encrypt your hard drives data in an attempt to blackmail you into paying for access to your precious data.
So to protect yourself we’ve got some tips and general advice:
Install and update Anti-virus Software
There are lot’s Internet security suites designed to detect and remove viruses and malware. To name a few we have Protect Yourself, Sophos, Avast and NOD32… so start by choosing one and keeping it up-to-date.
Once installed you should run a full scan and see if anything is detected. Remember to keep updating and schedule a scan at least once a week.
Make sure Windows has the latest service pack installed. For Windows 7 this should be Service Pack 1, Service Pack 3 for Windows XP and 8.1 for Windows 8. These can be obtained by ensuring Windows updates are turned on which will download and automatically install the service packs as well as other important patches. See Microsoft Update for additional updates to products. Whilst we’re on the topic of updates it’s also worth mentioning that support for Windows XP has now finished which means there will be no more updates available so it may be worth considering upgrading to Windows 7.
Don’t Open Email from Unknown Sources
Scammers will often send out bogus emails in an attempt to gather passwords by posing as a bank asking you to login. Never use the links provided in these emails. If you need to check your bank account go directly to their website instead. Remember – A bank will never contact you over an email to ask to change your password, this is all done via post.
If you receive an email from an address that you don’t recognise or doesn’t look genuine and it contains an attachment…don’t open it. The attachment will more than likely contain a virus or malware waiting to infect your computer the moment it’s opened.
Choose a Strong Password
Choose a strong password for your computers and on-line accounts. A good password should typically be at least eight characters long, contain alphanumeric characters and doesn’t use any dictionary words. Don’t be lazy by using easy to guess passwords such as “password” or your date of birth as this just makes the hackers job easier.
For advanced Password Generation for total security, consider using Strong Password Generator for reliable Password Security.
Backup Your Data
As you’ve no doubt heard many times it’s good computing practice to backup your data in the event of data loss or data locked in the case of Cryptolocker. Windows has a built in backup and restore utility so you can use this to create a system restore disc and backup your data to an external drive in the event that your hard drive becomes inaccessible. For other Backup Services, see our “Tools” section
You Suspect You’re Infected
Typically when a computer is infected with a virus you will start noticing things such as the system running slower than usual and other strange behaviour such as constant pop-ups. If you think that you’ve been infected then there are a number of tools to remove the GoZeus and Cryptolocker virus which are available from GetSafeOnline.org. These tools can work alongside any existing anti-virus software you have installed already.
This guide is by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully we’ll have covered enough to keep you safe online. If you have more questions about anything mentioned here then feel free to contact us.