Crypto-Malware In Oz Jumps 1300pc In Just Four Months

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Australia has seen a 1300 percent increase in so-called crypto-malware since May of this year, according to software security market leader Symantec. This is part of a global surge in crypto-malware, which has increased 14-fold since May, Symantec says.

“Crypto-malware is a particularly insidious form of malware that encrypts data files on the compromised computer and then attempts to extort money from the victim in order to have the files restored,” according to a Symantec report.

“Since many of us use personal computers to create and store documents for study or work, as well as media files of precious memories, the loss of these files can be particularly painful.

Many Australian victims are said to have been hit by examples of the trojan Cryptolocker.F family, which propagates through e-mail based social engineering.

Typically, Symantec says, victims are sent e-mails that look as if they come from local companies such as an Australian energy supplier bill or a delivery company offering details of a pending parcel delivery.

Once a file is clicked, malware encrypts data files on the compromised computer and the perpetrators then attempt to extort money from the victim in order to have the files restored.

Despite its alarming spread, crypto-malware is not particularly sophisticated, Symantec says. It urges computer users to be highly suspicious of unsolicited or unexpected e-mails concerning bills, offers or deliveries.

It adds: “do not download archive (.zip, .jar, .tar, .7z, .msi, etc.) or executable/script files (such as .com, .exe, .scr, .bat, .js, .jse, .vb, .vbe, .wsf, .wsh, .cmd). Companies should not need to use these files types when distributing a document.”

Above all, if you do be come a victim, don’t pay the ransom. “There is absolutely no guarantee that the files will actually be restored,” Symantec says. Hopefully you will have a full back-up available.
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