Cryptolocker Copycat Threatens P2P Users

Working on laptop

Cryptolocker was perhaps the most talked about piece of malware during the final months of 2013. After infecting an estimated 300-thousand computers in its first three months of existence, it should be no surprise that Cryptolocker is now launching copycat malware. John E. Dunn of Tech World reports that Crilock.A, otherwise known as Cryptolocker 2.0 began infecting users just before Christmas.

Security experts say that it’s likely that version 2.0 stems from a copycat rather than the same group responsible for the original Cryptolocker because it’s not as complex. Rather than spreading through malicious emails, 2.0 infects users by posing Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop files on peer to peer file sharing sites. This is a much smaller target audience but also makes it less likely that Cyptolocker 2.0 will be reported to authorities.

In many ways, however, Cryptolocker 2.0 performs the same way the original does. After infecting a machine, it encrypts files with certain extensions and demands a ransom to decrypt them. 2.0 targets a wider range of files than the original also. This is likely because of the users being targeted. Music, image and video files are all included on the encryption list.

Cryptolocker 2.0 is also capable of spreading to removable drives. Anything connected via USB could be infected. This isn’t a new capability for malware, but could prolong the malware’s life.

Included in Cryptolocker 2.0 are other components that launch separate attacks. One is used for DDoS attacks. Two others are designed to steal Bitcoins.

Similarly to the original Cryptolocker, overcoming an infection and regaining your encrypted files is difficult. The best protection is to avoid an infection in the first place. Thankfully, in the case of Cryptolocker 2.0, for now avoiding an infection is as easy as avoiding peer to peer file sharing sites. Although, there is always the possibility that other users will be targeted at a later date.

If your computer is the victim of a malware attack, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

January 3rd, 2014