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How to protect yourself from Cryptolocker and other ransomware

Cryptolocker is a nasty threat sneaking around the internet masquerading as a pdf file. This type of virus is known as ransomware because it targets files and then locks them up until you pay the demanded ‘ransom’.

Typically, the ‘virus’ will enter your system disguised as an innocent file attachment from a major delivery service offering tracking information or confirming money transfer. Once you have clicked to access the file, the virus will begin to search your machine for files with common extensions such as .doc, .xls, .pdf etc, encrypt those files, then contact the user to demand payment.

Anti-virus and malware tools will remove it, but files that have been infected will remain encrypted unless a payment is made, so it’s essential to prevent infection. The following is a guide to some of the ways you can protect your systems.


Beware of attachments

It goes without saying: you should never open an attachment if the email looks at all suspicious, even when the sender appears to be someone you know, and even if the file does not appear to be an executable (.exe) file.


Adjust your browser settings

You can enable phishing and malware protection, and block known attack sites in most browsers. Find out more at the links below.



Internet Explorer


Enable blocking in MS Office

If you are a Microsoft Office 365 user, you can block receipt of all attachments that contain .exe files via Admin Settings. Find out more at Microsoft Technet.


Enable system restore

On Windows PCs, enabling system restore will create a restore point before any major system change that will allow you to roll back your system to its previous status before the change was made. However, this will only affect installed programs and system configurations, not your data.


Use cloud storage

More and more organisations are turning to secure cloud storage for their data. Files accessed via the web, rather than your own hard drives or memory sticks, will be inaccessible to ransomware.


Review your backup procedures

If the worst comes to the worst, make sure you have made adequate arrangements to enable a full file restore if needed.

Further information

Content for this How To was provided by WorkPlaceLive, an NCVO trusted supplier. Visit their website for further information on cloud hosted services.


Page last edited Jul 10, 2017 History

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