10 ways to minimise your risk from the Cryptolocker ransomware virus
Cybercrime agencies worldwide are warning that computers may already be infected with the Crytolocker ransomware virus and only have a two week window to remove it. But what steps can you take to reduce the risk of your equipment becoming infected? Here are our top ten tips:
- Never open email attachments from unknown sources. Even if the sender's name looks genuine, check the actual email address before clicking on anything.
- Change to a spam and virus-filtered email service. Google Mail, for example, will not allow you to receive or send executable files (these are the kind which can install a virus in your system) as email attachments. This also includes those which are hidden in zip (compressed) files.
- Back up important data and content (photographs etc) to an external device and/or consider using cloud storage (eg flickr offers a large amount of free storage for photographs and video).
- Ensure that your operating system, internet browsers and security software is up to date and install updates as soon as possible after they become available.
- Install the latest versions of add-ons such as Java and Adobe Flash.
- If you are using the Windows 7 operating system, set up System Restore point. Alternatively, if you are using Windows 8, configure it to keep the 'file history'.
- Invest in some reputable anti-virus software and ensure you keep it up to date.
- Avoid adult websites as these are one of the most common sources of malware downloads.
- Be careful when clicking on adverts, and don't open links in Tweets from people you don't know.
- If you belive you have been infected, act quickly. It usually takes a little time fo the encryption to take place. Run anti-virus software immediately. While this can destroy the CryptoLocker virus before it has encrypted all your files, it will permanently delete affected files.