Cryptolocker attack but removed and all data recovered with zero data loss

Attack of one of the worst Trojans around.

Last week, for the very first time, one of Sterling IT’s customers was attacked with Cryptolocker virus.

When we had the alert, and then found client couldn’t access files, we thought it was just a corruption. Upon inspection, most files were renamed with .encrypted at the end and a HTML file explaining to pay a ransom to recover all the emails.

Sterling IT went into Disaster Recovery Mode (SITDR) and we were able to save the client from any data loss (even though EVERY file on 1x user PC plus most shares on the server were affected, as this user was in management and accounts security groups and shares). Using Shadow Protect and our monitoring systems, we were able to lock down the network, recover all files from DR backups and get the client back up and running.

It was first noticed because of Dropbox. As this company uses Dropbox for some business applications, and the infected user also had Dropbox access, ALL FILES were deleted. The only savior was one of the PCs was locally backed up which the files were recovered from there.  (we recommend using private sharing apps with Synology , synocloud,  rather than Dropbox as you have full control and is PRIVATE CLOUD).

How did this all happen?

Simple, opening an email with the Trojan. You might also ask about protection mechanisms we have.

First and foremost, the client recently moved to Microsoft Office 365. We would have thought that Microsoft anti-spam and antivirus would have maybe picked this up as first defense, but obviously didn’t. The second defense was a Fortigate firewall with antivirus scanning – been a great defense in general. And thirdly, antivirus and firewall on desktop.

Even with ALL these defenses, the Trojan still go through.

We have many clients sending us emails daily asking IS THIS SAFE? This is what we are here for, to help and protect our clients. Its FREE and QUICK!


How to decrypt, unlock and restore Cryptolocker malware for free

Cryptolocker is a particularly nasty type of ransomware that criminals have used to encrypt files on a victim’s computer before demanding a ransom for the encryption key to unlock the files.  Without the key, the encryption renders the victim’s files useless so many people lost files or paid the ransom.

Two security firms, Fireeye and Fox IT have partnered to provide a solution which may help many people. The website Decrypt Cryptolocker can now be used to try and unlock files encrypted by the Cryptolocker malware.

Use of the Decrypt Cryptolocker service is free and simply requires you to upload a sample encrypted file to the website.  If the website is able to decrypt your files, you can then download its recovery program and receive the unlocking master key by email.

Please note that this tool may not be able to decrypt some affected files.

CRITICAL WARNING VIRUS ALERT – CryptoLocker – Prevention and Clean

Please read and take note
CryptoLocker 14th October 2013

CryptoLocker is the next generation of internet virus that is currently circulating all over the world in large numbers. Once a computer becomes infected it will lock all your files plus any network files it has access to, even your server.
Once the files are locked it will give you a three day countdown to pay the ransom, usually $100 or $300. If the time expires your files are locked with no option to pay the ransom.
It is by far the worst we have experienced so far and virus protection companies are scrambling to catch up with this one, as it changes frequently to elude the virus scanners. In other words: it can affect you if you are not careful even though your firewall and virus protection is active and up-to-date.
Currently there are only two known methods to remove the infection, restoring your files from a backup or paying the ransom.
Please be aware that paying the ransom is not guaranteed to work. We don’t condone paying the ransom and supporting these cybercriminals.

Usually this occurs by these methods:
In the form of attachment, usually disguised in an email appearing to come from your bank, insurance company or courier service or scanner.
A simple safety procedure that works for the majority of email applications or online email services is to “hover” over the link, which means move the cursor to the attachment or “button” or other link in the email, but DO NOT click.  If the domain name that appears has no relation, looks suspicious, or appears as an unintelligible tangle of letters and numbers, it usually means it is not legitimate and should be deleted.
Through Trojan websites, which will ask you to download a piece of software in order to watch video clips or download songs off the internet.
Through exploit kits, specific websites with similar names to popular ones, just waiting for people to miss-type the address and think they are on their favourite website.
Advice for prevention

Do not open attachments if you are unsure of the contents or the email was unexpected.
Look for clues in the email content, usually most legitimate emails will address you by name and not something generic like ‘customer’ with vague wording.
Do not click on website links in emails until you have viewed the link location (do this by hovering over the link, this will display the link right at the bottom of Outlook). Instead of clicking the link, you are best to manually browse to the website via your web browser.
Make sure your anti-virus is updated regularly
Make sure your backups are current and working and backing up ALL critical data
If you get the virus

Stop work
Immediately disconnect any network drives
Contact us
Alert other users of the issue, as most likely any work done will be overwritten when the backup is restored.
Please do forward this email on to your staff, friends and associates.

If in doubt or have any questions, please contact Sterling IT.