“This warning is not intended to cause you panic but we cannot over-stress the importance of taking these steps immediately.”
– Get Safe Online
The UK’s National Crime Agency is warning Windows users that they have 2 weeks to protect themselves against a cyber attack that steals financial information. The 2 pieces of malware involved are called GOZeuS and CryptoLocker.
Why a 2-week warning? The FBI and the NCA have temporarily disrupted control of the botnet (a network of hijacked home computers) but expect it to slip their grasp in 2 weeks. They are searching for Evgeniy Bogachev (known by the online aliases “lucky12345” and “slavik”), a Russian man said to have already stolen hundreds of millions. The Russian government is cooperating.
GOZeuS arrives through mail attachments that look genuine. Opening the attachment secretly installs the program which then searches for financial and business information, even sensitive photographs of your family. If unsuccessful in finding anything of value, CryptoLocker then locks your computer, essentially holding it to ransom i.e. you have to pay to open it.
Many computers in South Africa are vulnerable to attack:
- Ensure that your virus program is up to date
- Install the latest updates from Windows.
- For the many users of Windows XP, it is recommended that you upgrade to Windows 8.
- Scan all USB sticks you receive.
Visit US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) for more detailed info and scanning suggestions.
I use Avast Anti-Virus and it has protected me for 4 years now, longer than any programs used previously. There is a free version. After installing, be sure to register the product so that you get it’s use for free for 1 year (this is renewable) – www.knysnawebsitedesign.co.za/use-avast-anti-virus-for-free.