Bitcoin has usually been associated with Bitcoin crime and various illegal activities. However the recent crime wave perpratrated by hackers making use of the crypto locker virus to force victims to pay to receive access to their files.
The virus works using a simple method which involves encrypting your data with a random key initially. Once the files are encrypted you are presented with a message alerting you to pay a certain amount in Bitcoin within a certain time if you want to get access to your files. If the Bitcoin are received you most likely receive the key in order to decrypt your files from the server however once the time has run out the key is deleted and current key recovery or generation methods are unsuccessful due to the sheer encryption the key is created by. Many know the unfortunate fact that once an infection occurs either a full restore or a payment of the ransom is required to regain access to lost files.
Prevent an infection:
Use a strong antivirus program such as Malwarebytes pro
Make regular backups of files offline (on a separate hard drive)
Regularly update windows and software programs such as Adobe Acrobat to receive security patches.
Pay Bitcoin fee (only perform this action if there are no alternatives)
Restore a recent backup before infection
Take the infected machine to a local support centre or technician
Experienced users can use device manager to terminate the first service by selecting to “kill tree”
These registry values can also be delete via the reedit program on your windows machine:
HKCU\Software\CryptoLocker\Files (This key reportedly contains a list of encrypted files)
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run CryptoLocker = <Reference to file location>
To conclude the virus can be an extremely destructive one ruining computing systems and even costing business money but the simple steps taken to secure your computer such as scanning on a daily basis and creating regular backups can help minimize the damage you incur and overall lower the chances of you being a victim.