If you have been keeping up with security news as of late, then you may have heard of CryptoLocker, a scary form of malware that has been making the recent rounds. The virus falls into a category known as “ransomware”, and it is not a new form of attack. The virus takes over a computer and locks users out of their data, demanding money in exchange for retrieval of the files.
The problem with CrytoLocker is that it locks down your files with high-end encryption, that can’t be undone. To make matters worse, the US government has seized some of the key servers, shutting them down. The shutdown permanently erases the keys used to lock up user data, preventing the innocent customer from any chance of recovery.
To combat this, Foolish IT (yes, the name is silly, but the company is not) has released a new free app called CryptoPrevent, which aims to head this virus off at the pass. It comes in both desktop and portable versions — 402 KB and 722 KB respectively.
“CryptoPrevent is a tiny utility to lock down any Windows OS (XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1) to prevent infection by the Cryptolocker malware or ‘ransomware’, which encrypts personal files and then offers decryption for a paid ransom”, claims the developer.
CryptoPrevent works by artificially implanting group policy objects into the registry in order to block certain executables in certain locations from running. Because the group policy objects are artificially created, they will not display in the Group Policy Editor on a Professional version of Windows — but they are still there.
The simple interface contains only four options, but these will cover all of the threats posed by this latest round of malware. You can control whitelisting and also opt to run in test mode.
Most savvy computer users, the ones who read tech sites like BlogsDNA for example, as you all know better than to open an unsolicited file that comes attached to an email. However, having a fail-safe to back up your decisions is never a bad thing, and CryptoPreventer provides a nice little bit of help.