It is extremely important in our technology led world that the security on the computers you use is kept up to date. This week the National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced it has taken temporary control of communications used to connect with infected computers that could steal your financial information or hold your computer to ransom. The NCA expects only a very limited window of opportunity for you to ensure you are protected.
The threat that is causing most concern is one that uses two different types of malware to infect your computer.
Also known as GOZeus or P2PZeus, is malware used to infect computers so that they can be ‘taken over’ by the criminals. This can then be used to download and install additional malware, view your files, monitor your bank accounts, send emails in your name and even use your webcam to spy on you. This type of malware will normally go unnoticed as it does not make visible changes to your computer. If the criminals are unable to make a profit in this way CryptoLocker is downloaded.
This type of infection is known as ‘ransomware’. Your files are encrypted, which prevents you from opening them, and you are issued with a ransom demand. If you pay the ransom there is no guarantee that your files will be unlocked. Once any files are encrypted they are effectively useless to you, there is no way to get them back without the encryption key.
Computers normally get infected by email attachments being opened or links clicked to go to bogus websites. If you are not sure of an email you have been sent, delete it, do not open it. Do not open attachments that you are not expecting and be wary of clicking on links in emails to access your accounts or reset passwords etc. Phishing emails can be very convincing and you may see even more connected with this threat claiming to be from your broadband provider, law enforcement agencies or even friends and family. If in doubt, delete it!