Locky Virus – The Real Threat

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 What is Locky?

Locky is one of the newest biggest threats to a computer that your average person is going to encounter. This virus attacks the files on your computer that have a file type that can be anything ranging from Documents to Videos to Photos. What it does is locks the file and makes them unusable without a decryption key that you have to pay for of course.

This is known as “Ransomware” in the tech industry and it can be very difficult to recover from if you are not properly prepared with backups and proper anti-virus software.

This particular attack tends to almost always come in the form of an email that looks like it could be safe with a attachment that has the ending .zip. You will be prompted to open the .zip and see a document that when opened looks like a bunch of gobbled up letters/numbers and it will ask you to enable macros on your word program to be legible.

What you don’t see is it using that “macro” ability to install in the back ground and lock out all your files and giving it unrestricted access to your computer as well as any external drives or network locations you have the ability to save or write to. Once it has infected your machine you really only have 2 options. Pay them and pray that they give you the program to remove the encryptions or recover from a backup solution.

Virus prevention is a constant fight and will always be something that we as both users and technicians have to be vigilant for and work on learning about and how to prevent the new threat.

Tips

  • Always check the sender of an email.  Remember if the email is coming from a bank, shipping company, online shopping site, or other normal vendors confirm they are the real sender prior to following any link or opening attachments.  Visit the vendor’s website for clarification and/or to report any fraudulent emails.
  • Review the content of email.  If it contains links, hover over the link to determine if it goes to the same website the email is from; if it’s from someone you know, but you were not expecting an attachment, contact that person; if it only contains a link and no other content, delete it.  Do not open Zip files if you were not expecting them.  For example, faxes come in the form of a PDF, not zipped.
  • Keep your computer up to date with patches
  • Keep your antivirus software updated
  • Always backup your data!!  Invest in Carbonite or some other online backup solution.  If you are running Windows 7 or 10, setup a schedule backup routine.
  • Consider another layer of protection with Malwarebytes.  It’s effective and reasonable.

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