Computers of Greenland Town Hall Attacked by CryptoLocker Virus
Seacoastonline.com reported on 2nd January, 2014 stating that eight years of data and documents were lost when computers at Town Hall (Greenland, New Hampshire USA) became infected with an insidious type of "ransomware" virus known as CryptoLocker.
Seacoastonline.com published a report on 2nd January, 2014 quoting Karen Anderson, Town Hall Administrator, as saying "computers became infected on 26th December, 2013 when an employee inadvertently opened the virus which was contained as an attachment in an e-mail. The e-mail purported to be from AT&T and claimed that the employee had received a voice mail."
CryptoLocker is a virus which has gained significant attention since it's' appearance in September 2013 and it is targeting computers running Microsoft Windows. It is capable of encrypting certain documents of a computer and then extorts money from the victim by making the files inaccessible permanently unless a ransom is paid within a certain time limit.
Anderson said that she did not learn of the virus till Monday, December 23, 2013, when the deadline for paying the ransom had already passed and the computer, where the virus was initially downloaded, had been taken off line but not before the virus spread throughout the network.
Greenland is not the only place in US which has been attacked by the CryptoLocker virus. In November 2013, a local police department in Swansea, Massachusetts, US had paid a ransom of $750 to operators of CryptoLocker to decrypt files locked by the malware on computer systems of police. The police claimed that the infection had been mop up and their systems secured with no personal information stolen.
Experts comment that disturbingly incidents of the above type highlight that CryptoLocker virus is spreading like wildfire across the Internet.
Currently there is no fix for the malware though AV experts are working hard to find one. Although techies can often eliminate ransomware that just freezes machines, restoration of encrypted files gets tougher. Experts therefore conclude that taking back-up of important data on USB (Universal Serial Bus) drive is an outstanding insurance to overcome such ransomware attacks because there's no assurance that ransom payment will recover files from the tainted computer.
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