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How to Avoid Getting Ransomware…. Cyber Security Tips

CryptoLocker Ransomware
CryptoLocker is a dangerous ransomware that typically comes in the door through social engineering using a virus payload which is hidden inside of an email attachment.  When a user opens the infected email attachment they unknowingly launch the exploit. Once executed CryptoLocker ransomware utilizes advanced data encryption algorithms and starts encrypting data files on your PC as well as files on company network shared drives.

Once the files are encrypted and you have been locked out of accessing your data a message will be displayed on your screen. These messages show a countdown timer as well as a method of payment and the dollar amount required in order to get the decryption key so that you can unlock and use your data.  So your data files are encrypted and the cybercriminal is threatening to keep you locked out of your data permanently unless you pay the ransom before the deadline.  There are two main ways for you to be able to recover your data. Pay the ransom to obtain the decryption key or restore the data from your backups.

To avoid falling victim to a ransomware exploit do not click on links in email messages or open email attachments unless you absolutely trust the sender and you are expecting the email.  If you were not expecting the email from a trusted user reach out to them with a phone call to verify they were the sender.  Hackers often try and fool users by sending a malicious email and make it appear as if it was sent by someone else.

There are many different types and varieties of ransomware which are constantly being updated by hackers in an attempt to stay one step ahead of detection techniques and technologies.  However, the basic theme remains the same.  Pay the ransom or suffer the consequences.

If you’re ever unsure – DON’T CLICK IT!  When in doubt error on the side of caution and call the service desk.

Below are some of the email subject lines that are often used to target unsuspecting users and that try and entice them to click on the dangerous email attachment.

• USPS – Missed package delivery

• FW: Invoice <random number>

• ACH Notification ADP Payroll

• FW: Last Month Remit

• scanned from Xerox

• Fwd: IMG01041_6706015_m.zip

• New Voicemail Message

• Scan Data

• Payment Advice – Advice Ref:[GB2198767]

• Important Notice – Incoming Money Transfer

• FW: Check copy


• Past due invoices

• Symantec Endpoint Protection: Important System Update – requires

immediate action

• SPS – Your package is available for pickup (Parcel 173145820507)

• USPS – Missed package delivery

• ADP payroll: Account Charge Alert

• Important – attached form

• McAfee Always On Protection Reactivation

• My resume

• Important – New Outlook Settings

• Payment Overdue – Please respond

• Payroll Invoice

• Corporate eFax message – (random phone # & number of pages)