Over the last few weeks I have had several clients infected by Cryptowall 3.0, a very destructive virus making the internet rounds right now. This type of virus is known as ransomware. It infects your computer and encrypts all of your documents, pictures, QuickBooks files, etc. Then it offers to decrypt them for a “modest” fee. (Usually $500 or more.) They come in through email attachments, or rogue websites.
The encryption used by these is RSA-2048 private key. This means that the key or “password” to decode this is over 600 digits long. That is impossible to break with any modern computer. So, if you get ransomware your files will become unrecoverable.
There is only two known ways to get your files back from ransomware.
1 – You can hope that the virus writer is ethical and will decrypt them if you pay. Reports of people who paid having success at this are very mixed at best. A survey of web sites pertaining to this show less than half of reported payments were successful in regaining their files.
2 – Be prepared. Having a solid backup plan in place before an infection will totally mitigate all damage. One of my clients got Cryptowall and it took less than two hours to restore a backup that put the infected laptop back to where it was the day before the infection hit.
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(originally posted by Wolfe Computer Solutions on the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce blog as a guest post on May 4, 2015)