PC users: beware of CryptoLocker malware!

‘Ransomware’ attached to email purporting to come from Royal Mail will permanently encrypt all files on your PC,

CryptoLocker will encrypt files with a public key that is widely seen as unbreakable,

PC users are being warned to be on their guard against emails purporting to be from the Royal Mail and containing CryptoLocker, a malicious piece of software that locks computers with an unbreakable encryption.

The email states that a lost or missing package is waiting for you at your local sorting office and asks recipients to download an attachment to find out more. Those who do immediately start to install the CryptoLocker malware on to their computer, without realising what they have done.

CryptoLocker will encrypt all the data on the computer, including photos, music and personal documents, using a public key.

A message will then appear on the screen stating that all of the data is locked and can only be unlocked with a private key, which the scammers promise to hand over once the computer owner has sent them a payment.

The fraudulent Royal Mail email was discovered when a victim contacted the Action Fraud call centre. It is the second piece of malware hidden in a fake Royal Mail email that has come to light in recent months.

As a result of the scams, Royal Mail has issued advice warning members of the public that it will never include attachments in an unsolicited email, and stating that it does not email its customers asking for any personal information. It has also notified the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

“We encourage any customer who receives a suspicious email claiming to be from Royal Mail to contact our customer services department on 08457 740 740,” a spokesperson said, adding that the company follows “robust security procedures” to protect its customers.

Anyone wishing to book a redelivery of a Royal Mail parcel can do so online at the Royal Mail website.

Scammers using CryptoLocker typically ask for ransoms of either $300 or €300, which must be sent through an anonymous pre-paid cash voucher such as MoneyPak or Ukash or the equivalent amount in Bitcoins.

If the extortionists do not receive the payment within 72 to 100 hours, victims are warned the private key will be destroyed and nobody will ever be able to recover their data.

The encryption uses publicly available, well-established algorithms developed by governments and other legitimate bodies that means it is widely seen as unbreakable. When Guardian Money warned readers about CryptoLocker ransomware in October, a spokesperson for security firm Sophos told us that “if you haven’t got back up and you get hit by CryptoLocker, you may as well have dropped your PC over the side of the bridge”.

Since then, it is estimated that more than 250,000 PCs have been infected and the UK’s National Crime Agency has warned 10 million UK-based email users are being targeted.

Only PCs running Windows can be infected but the CryptoLocker malware can be hidden in any executable attachment or sneak on to your computer via a driveby download from a disreputable or infected website.

click here   10 ways to beat CryptoLocker

Posted By Mantosh Pal

10 ways to beat CryptoLocker

Protecting your files from CyptoLocker and other malware starts with a few sensible precautions,

Heavy chain with a padlock around a laptop
What can you do to prevent cybercriminals locking all your personal files and demanding    money to free them,

A few sensible precautions will help minimise the chances of a CrytoLocker attack. So what are our top tips?

Back up your files. If you use an external hard drive, don’t leave it connected to your PC unless you are backing up. Alternatively, pay for an online back-up service – but bear in mind you may still be vulnerable if your backed-up files are mapped as a network drive. Check with your provider if you are unsure.

Create files in the Cloud and upload photos to online accounts like Flickr or Picasa.

Switch to a spam- and virus-filtered email service. Google Mail, for example, does not allow you to receive or send executable files (that can install viruses) as email attachments, even if they are hidden in zip files. (It also does not allow you to send them).

Don’t go to online porn sites, which are often the source of malware downloads. Take care when clicking on adverts; never open Twitter links and attachments from people you don’t know or trust.

Make sure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest security.

Install the latest versions of your internet browsers and update add-ons such as Java and Adobe Flash.

 • Get reputable anti-virus software and ensure you update it frequently.

On Windows 7, double-check that you have set up System Restore points or, if you are using Windows 8, configure it to keep the “file history”.

Act quickly. If you do accidentally download a dodgy attachment, bear in mind it is likely to take some time for the encryption to take place. If you immediately download and run an anti-virus programme, such as the free anti-virus toolkit available from Sophos, it could destroy the CryptoLocker before all your files have been encrypted – however, you will permanently lose affected files.

Encrypt the files you particularly want to keep private, such as documents containing your passwords or personal information, to prevent criminals from reading what’s in them.

Posted By Mantosh Pal

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: ‘WhatsApp worth more than $19bn’ – video

Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp, which he bought last week, was worth more than the $19bn (£11.4bn) he paid for it. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, he says the instant messaging service already connects 1 billion people around the world

Posted By Mantosh Pal

Apple India offers up to Rs. 40,000 buy back discount on purchase of new laptops

apple_mac_macbook_air_websiteApple is offering up to Rs. 40,000 buy back discount on purchase of a new Mac laptop in India, if you turn in your old Mac laptop for exchange.

As per an advertisement in a leading daily, Apple is offering a discount of up to Rs. 40,000 if you give a Mac laptop that is less than two years old in exchange. The company will offer up to Rs. 30,000 for turning in Apple portables that are between two and three years old, while the discount on offer for exchanging Mac laptops that are between three and four years old is Rs. 25,000. If you have a Mac laptop that is more than four years old, you’re out of luck, since there is no discount on offer under the present scheme.

The advertisement notes that the final offer value is at the sole discretion of the reseller, a standard practice with these buy back schemes. Apple adds that this is “limited period” offer, but does not mention an end date.

The discounts are being offered on purchase of Mac laptops only. In other words, you can turn in your old Mac laptop to get discounts on a new one – there’s nothing to interest present or prospective owners of Mac mini, iMac or Mac Pro computers.

Interestingly, the advertisement adds that the offer is also available on laptops of other brands as well – customers are advised to check in-store for more details. Though Apple does not mention it specifically, we expect the discounts on offers on Windows laptops of a similar age to be significantly lower. If you have a Windows laptop and are looking to switch to the Mac, you may want to see if your local Apple reseller has a good buy back offer that interests you.

Posted By Mantosh Pal