You May Never See Your Computer Files Again!

52 replies
Interesting article at Forbes Magazine's website about a virus that holds all your files for ransom.

Computer Virus Spreading That Means You Never Get To See Your Files Again - Forbes


Back up everything if you don't do so already.

:-Don
#computer #files
  • Profile picture of the author Tim Chin
    Interesting. I wasn't aware that there was malware out there like this, though thinking about it now, it makes a lot of sense. This kind of thing is extremely dangerous to any potential victim and people should definitely watch out. Cracking decent encryption is no cakewalk and should be avoided. Though of course like you mentioned, a good backup can stop this kind of trick dead in its tracks.

    Like most types of malware/viruses this can be mostly avoided by browsing smart and safely. Just be careful what sites you visit, what ads you're clicking, and what files you're downloading. Stay safe, everyone!
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  • Profile picture of the author cpwebsite
    Just be logical online, do not keep super important stuff on your computer (i.e. bank passwords ect., so they do not get access to it) and always keep at least 1 backup.

    If that happened to me, I would clean install windows to remove the virus and the either reinstate my windows backup, or if the backup has the virus, just put my files on the computer.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    Linux FTW!
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    :)

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    • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      Linux FTW!
      The laptop I use to do most of my IM related stuff runs Xubuntu with a Windows VM for a few tools. MY VPS runs most everything else.
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    • Profile picture of the author swiftreaction
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      Linux FTW!
      I was just thinking the exact same thing! I am not a fan of Windows, but I absolutely love Linux. I've never had an issue with a virus or malware while using Linux, but I can't say the same about my experiences with Windows. If you're not afraid of getting your hands just a little dirty, I would say Linux is the way to go. There are tons of distributions, so many that anyone can find something that they like.
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      • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
        You can never have too many backups.

        And you need to test those backups. I've run several datacenters and I can tell you lots of folks think - ok, I've got a backup now I'm safe. Well it might be on that backup drive, but can you get it back onto the system?

        I've been called a lot of bad names by team mates responsible for backups for coming into a new gig and forcing them to actually test and sign off on their backups. It use to be they'd start them and forget them. More work - but after my procedures are in place its very unlikely we'd lose a backup.

        This goes as a heads up to folks here too - just because you have a backup doesn't mean its a good one! You should from time to time at least try to recover a file from the thing to make sure its working.

        And also - another item that goes along with backups is called disater recovery. Heaven forbid your house or office burns down - but could you recover from that? What if your computer's hard drive went poof?

        Are you storing your backup files on the same hard drive as the data? That's a no-no!

        Are you storing your backups in the same room as the computer? That's a no-no too. At least get a copy off site. To another location or even better - to a safety deposit box at your bank.

        Be careful out there.

        --Jack
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      • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
        Originally Posted by swiftreaction View Post

        I was just thinking the exact same thing! I am not a fan of Windows, but I absolutely love Linux. I've never had an issue with a virus or malware while using Linux, but I can't say the same about my experiences with Windows. If you're not afraid of getting your hands just a little dirty, I would say Linux is the way to go. There are tons of distributions, so many that anyone can find something that they like.
        It's unfortunate because a lot of people are basically in a Windows world when it comes to software. But for those who don't do much aside from checking emails, browsing the web, watching videos, etc, Linux is a great solution. I stopped getting frequent "how do I" or "I got another virus" calls once my grandparents switched from Windows Vista (ugh) to Ubuntu.

        And you're right. If you're willing to get your hands a little dirty you can really take Linux to the next level.

        On a side note, I'm really interested in seeing what Valve can do with the Steam Box. Moving away from Windows is a bold move. It'd be great to see more game developers embracing Linux as an option as well. Gaming is one of the biggest reasons a lot of people are stuck with Windows.
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    • Profile picture of the author hsinclair
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      Linux FTW!
      Amen... One of the reasons I only use Windows on virtual machines on my Linux boxes at my house. Linux & Android Rulez!!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
    Yeah, heard about this on The Security Now Podcast. (Twit.tv) Pretty scary stuff, and I usually think most viruses are totally overblown. But this one looks to be pretty serious.

    I've been trying to get my less "savvy" family members and friends to consider switching to a tablet or even Ubuntu because of crap like this.

    It's usually horrifying to see the state of their computers when I visit. FREE GAMES? AWESOME. WILL DOWNLOAD.
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    Thanks for the info!

    1. Keep your files backed up regularly
    2. Use MalwareBytes and AVG or some other a/v and keep them updated
    3. Browse and use email via a secure partition by using SandBoxie
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Don't just keep backups. Keep multiple backups in different places, with at least one copy that is physically disconnected from everything. A portable HD, DVDs, SDHC card... Whatever.

    If you can fit the truly critical files in 32 gigs or less, think about keeping them on a MicroSD card in your cell phone.
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    • Profile picture of the author AffiliatingAlan
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      Don't just keep backups. Keep multiple backups in different places, with at least one copy that is physically disconnected from everything. A portable HD, DVDs, SDHC card... Whatever.

      If you can fit the truly critical files in 32 gigs or less, think about keeping them on a MicroSD card in your cell phone.
      Virus can infiltrate cellphones

      new virus can spread across room through sonic waves

      only place safe is HDD in vault
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  • Profile picture of the author taxpayment1
    Wow that Is very crazy.Hard to believe then again it's not at the same time. There are so just so many things can happen on the Internet now a days It's very weird. Thank your for that post though appreciate It.
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    Yeah, keep backups everywhere, in different houses, online and offline, and also use truecrypt containers to keep important stuff (so they're not accessible so much).
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Go to your local electronics store and buy a one terabyte portable USB hard drive and do a back up. Cost is approx $79 or more. Most potable hard drive already have back up software preinstalled in the device and it is a great way. I have my main hard drives go bad on me. Yeah, it is always a pain. This is like more of the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author dynamyt100
    Amazing that! When I was studying programming in the early 90's I wanted to do exactly the same thing. For obvious reasons I never did. In saying that we were always taught "SAVE" and "BACKUP".
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    • Profile picture of the author greg80221
      I didn't even have to read the article to know which one you are talking about. We got it at our work and it is really a nasty nasty bug. It will encrypt everything and then send you the ransom note. most of the online stuff I saw was people very thankful they do cold storage backups or ones that payed the ransom and had everything go smooth. We tried to pay but our antivirus found the bug right in the middle of getting the private key back so we said screw them and pieced together about 98% of the data. The real nasty thing about this bug is that #1 2048 bit encryption keys and #2 kills shadow copy which is what many backup systems use to keep large amounts of data backed up (ie, a san iscsi 24 drive array with mirrored raids). thank goodness we had a server we just migrated from that had most of what we might have lost and that we had crash plan set up on the servers. I personally went home and redid my backup on my IM stuff just to be on the safe side and made sure its a off grid storage. The worst part for me was realizing that dropbox would corrupt itsself and upload all the encrypted files and then download them as they all slowly changed over. I also set dropbox to not start on windows startup the same day to limit my exposure to everything.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Dinero
    Damn, this thread scared the crap out of me, lol. I will get to backup everything as soon as I can!
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Originally Posted by Rod Dinero View Post

      Damn, this thread scared the crap out of me, lol. I will get to backup everything as soon as I can!
      You're smarter than most people. The majority who hear about this won't do anything with the info.

      You haven't learned until you've been burned.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rod Dinero
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        You're smarter than most people. The majority who hear about this won't do anything with the info.

        You haven't learned until you've been burned.
        Actually I just did a backup of all my files like 2 hours ago, I dont want to be burned thats for sure!, lol
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    • Profile picture of the author Patbinc
      Originally Posted by Rod Dinero View Post

      Damn, this thread scared the crap out of me, lol. I will get to backup everything as soon as I can!

      Guess being scared into action is actually a good thing. Most probably wouldn't have done anything if the message wasn't scary!
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      • Profile picture of the author Rod Dinero
        Originally Posted by Patbinc View Post

        Guess being scared into action is actually a good thing. Most probably wouldn't have done anything if the message wasn't scary!
        It scared me so much man! I think I would kill myself if I lost all my data haha... Im so glad I read this thread
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        • Profile picture of the author wonderd
          Using an external hard drive that is not always attached to the computer is a good idea. Only attach it to backup your files then unplug it.
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  • Profile picture of the author KenJ
    I'm guessing using dropbox and an external hard drive that is disconnected each time is not enough. I can replace software, but my files are critical.
    Am I safe or not?

    KenJ
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    • Profile picture of the author egbrown
      As a tech fighting the bug you are not safe. The CryptoLocker is delivered from an infected website via a drive-by attack. Site gets hacked...you go to site now you have the malware. Nasty nasty bug...worst than the FBI stuff...Please back up in other places. This bug can jump to mapped network drives too.
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  • From what I've read about it there are a few interesting things:

    -The encryption has not been cracked yet. So it's pay the ransom or lose your files. A lot of people don't want to give in to hackers and scammers, yet others don't want to lose their files.

    -If you pay the ransom you do in fact get your files

    -You can only pay with Moneypak or Bitcoin, this is obviously so there is not a money trail to the culprits

    -it will encrypt any attached drives. So if you back up your files to an external drive, those are in trouble too.

    -At least one of the ways that it's being spread is through email spam, particularly a fake WhatsApp message email.
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  • Profile picture of the author dannyo669
    That's why you have to do your best to keep everything safe and secure! haha
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  • Profile picture of the author dannyo669
    That's why you have to do your best to keep everything safe and secure! haha
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    There is a bit of software the IT crowd is recommending for blocking this particular piece of nasty. It's called CryptoPrevent.

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/cryptol...at-you-can-do/

    I installed it on a test machine and it did no harm. Beyond that, I don't make any guarantees. Not my product... Still, a lot of people who actually understand the tech behind this are recommending it.


    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      There is a bit of software the IT crowd is recommending for blocking this particular piece of nasty. It's called CryptoPrevent.

      CryptoLocker Is The Nastiest Malware Ever - Here's What You Can Do

      I installed it on a test machine and it did no harm. Beyond that, I don't make any guarantees. Not my product... Still, a lot of people who actually understand the tech behind this are recommending it.


      Paul
      Heard about this on the Security Now podcast. Good solution for now. But I guess it will be very easy to get around if they feel so inclined.
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  • Profile picture of the author Forteam04
    Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post

    Interesting article at Forbes Magazine's website about a virus that holds all your files for ransom.

    Computer Virus Spreading That Means You Never Get To See Your Files Again - Forbes


    Back up everything if you don't do so already.

    :-Don
    Hi, Don schank.
    you mention an point here , i am wake up now and get my whole data saved.
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  • Profile picture of the author deannatroupe
    I've been backing up my files on dropbox. I admit I have some work to do to get ALL of my files off of my machine and on dropbox. This thread just lets me know I'm on the right track.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Sheley
      Random ware is dirty but it can be removed and your files will be okay if caught in time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sanderson
    I have no fear. I make sure before i log off each night that a back up of everything is done before my day is complete.

    You never know, when a virus, hard drive failure is round the corner. If i lost all my files, it would be drastic.

    Just like losing a offline biz to a fire, devastation.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
      Originally Posted by Alex Sanderson View Post

      I have no fear. I make sure before i log off each night that a back up of everything is done before my day is complete.

      You never know, when a virus, hard drive failure is round the corner. If i lost all my files, it would be drastic.

      Just like losing a offline biz to a fire, devastation.

      Alex
      Where do you back up to? If it's to something like Skydrive, Dropbox, or an external hard drive hooked to your computer, this malware can infect it too.

      Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    Just noticed a US police force was forced to pay a bitcoin ransom for their files. It seemed to be the same scheme as this one.

    US police force pay bitcoin ransom in Cryptolocker malware scam | Technology | theguardian.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Ethan Chong
    Lol, recently my laptop crashed (not sure if it was virus or not) ...

    It made me lost a few valuable files which can't be recovered but luckily, I did a backup not so long ago so I only lost those that are recently added to my computer.
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  • Profile picture of the author tcrews
    I always keep back up of my most important files somewhere else. Been there done that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Purchase
    These types of viruses aren't uncommon. It's always important to back up your data. I have a 500GB hard drive that I back-up to regularly, as well as a Dropbox account. You can't be too careful!
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    • Profile picture of the author Maria Jimenez
      Originally Posted by Kevin Purchase View Post

      These types of viruses aren't uncommon. It's always important to back up your data. I have a 500GB hard drive that I back-up to regularly, as well as a Dropbox account. You can't be too careful!
      It's a lot of time consuming ..how do you manage to do it.. do you use some tool...
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  • Profile picture of the author bertyounger
    Sounds like ransomware on steroids. Just nasty crap. That's why I used a Linux box if I have to visit some rough neighborhoods on the Internet. Most of these exploits have no effect on Linux.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I'm surprised that the authorities are not able to trace who is receiving
    this "ransom money". Or maybe this is not illegal? This is weird to say
    the least. Thanks for he head up though.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      I'm surprised that the authorities are not able to trace who is receiving
      this "ransom money".
      One of the things about the bitcoin payments is that they are built to preserve anonymity. That was also what added to the value of them for the Chinese looking to get their money out of the country.
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    I spent most of yesterday backing up my main site files to bluray (took 16 blurays), which I then will put in my safety deposit box. Always good to have multiple locations, multiple formats like Paul said. I often use seagate 4TB external drives for backups as well, which are archived.

    -k
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Can preventing writing to the boot sector of the hard drive in BIOS prevent this virus to come on your computer?
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    • Profile picture of the author kayebee
      It's getting more and more dangerous on the internet. I've been procrastinating on buying an external hard drive since I bought a new computer. Now I'm definitely going buy something. I've already experienced nasty viruses and crashes with multiple computers and don't want to go through that ordeal again.

      I did get a little chuckle in the first paragraph. "If you don't have over your money you are never getting access to your data again..." :p
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by magneticweb View Post

        Why not just disconnect from the internet before connecting to your external hard drive, and don't reconnect until after you've disconnected your external hard drive?

        Yes, this is what you do. However, this isn't automatic and you need to remember to connect and disconnect your external HD.

        Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post

        Kurt,
        How would you make two backups?

        It sounds like the backup software resets the archive bit on the files it backs up. It would think everything is backed up with the first backup, and not want to run again for those files..

        I've always use the drop and drag to a backup drive method, and make two of them. I've had backup drives go bad - even backups to CD/DVD.

        :-Don
        Just create two different projects.

        After the first run, the program compares files to see if any files have been added, deleted or modified, then only copies (or deletes) any changes. Drag and drop means all files are being "moved" to the extrenal HD and takes much longer.

        You have the option of how the program handles deleted files, if you want to also delete the file on your backup or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author tonio79
    Time to back things up then....great to have a welcome reminder....thanks for the nudge!

    Tonio
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