What is Cryptolocker and Ransomware Virus

By • October 2nd 2016


As you probably know, there are many new computer viruses generated every day – more than ever in fact.  These are created by malicious people who make a lot of money out of what they do.  Therefore the most ‘successful’ viruses are now made by organised businesses – which means they are becoming more sophisticated and dangerous than ever.

The most feared virus around today – a virus called Cryptolocker.  This virus usually arrives in the form of an email attachmentusually a .zip or .pdf file, but it can also be a .doc or other office document.  When this email attachment is opened (double-clicked) it installs an application on your PC that systematically searches for any critical files containing useful information (such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDF documents, images, photos, etc) – anything that could be essential to you and/or your business.

Once it has found these files it encrypts them – converts them to a highly coded format – so you can no longer read or open them.  Once all of your files have been made inaccessible the virus sends you a message on your PC telling you that once you send payment to their bank account you will get your files back.  This type of virus is called ‘ransomware’ as it literally holds you to ransom.

It is worth knowing though that there have been no known instances of anyone getting their files back after paying the ransom so we would not recommend paying these crooks.  The only proven way to get your files back is to restore them from backups.

So, what can you do to help prevent such an infection ?


  • Do not open email attachments if the email looks unfamiliar or strange, and/or you do not know the person sending it – if you are in any doubt PLEASE DO NOT OPEN IT J.  Feel free to call us or forward the email to support@synium.co.uk and we can take a look at it for you
  • If you are using Office 365 for your email add rules to the system to block .zip or .exe file types
  • If you have our Email Filtering service in place add rules to block potential malicious file types
  • Have robust backup solutions in place so you can reliably restore data
  • For an extra layer of protection install an Email Filtering service – this stops a huge amount of rogue emails before they land in your inbox
  • Make sure the user account you are using on your PC does not have Administrator level permissions – whilst this won’t help prevent Cryptolocker ‘stealing’ your files it will certainly help in the recovery of your files (as Cryptolocker can delete backups from your hard disk if it has Administrator privileges)

Hopefully after reading the above information you now realise that the viruses around today are incredibly dangerous and very real.  They simply do not care who they target and the consequences can be a disaster.

If you would like to discuss anything about the information above please get in touch either on the office number or via email.  We are more than happy to discuss further and help out as much as we can.



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