Resources Hub - Crypto Virus: Meaning, Prevention & Removal Methods

Roughly 4,000 crypto virus attacks occur daily, and the United States government estimated that these email threats take $1 billion in ransom every year. Unfortunately, that price is only a portion of the money that goes into mitigating these malware ransomware attacks, as companies need to spend excessive amounts of time and energy decrypting files while data loss, significant downtime, and reputational damage resulting from email security issues.

Crypto virus attacks can harm businesses, so it is essential to understand how to avoid such a risk. This article will briefly explain crypto viruses, how to identify and defend against them, and the email security solutions Guardian Digital offers to mitigate crypto virus issues.

What is a Crypto Virus? 

A CryptoLocker (crypto) virus is a type of ransomware that encrypts a compromised account or a device and demands a ransom from the victim before providing the decryption code information. Crypto virus attacks result from a user clicking on or downloading a malicious link or attachment, unknowingly giving a threat actor access to the computer to encrypt the server.

Note: Never pay the ransom. It won't remove the virus, is highly unlikely to decrypt your files, and you'll be giving into blackmail and coercive threats. 

How Does a Crypto Virus Work?

Most ransomware viruses will completely lock you out of your computer, but CryptoLocker prevents you from reaching critical files and informs you of its policy. This virus will explain that you need to pay a price to get the private key to prevent your files from being permanently destroyed. CryptoLocker is a potent virus since the files remain encrypted even after you pay the ransom, and it can be nearly impossible to decrypt them. Therefore, you must watch for these dangerous email threats before they harm your files.

What Common Crypto Viruses Should I Know?

Here are the two most damaging crypto viruses to be aware of:

  1. Locky: Released in 2016, this virus sends maliciously coded Microsoft Word attachments in emails. Locky infects thirty devices a minute and reached 400,000 users over the first week security professionals detected it.
  2. Cryptowall: This Trojan horse developed in 2014 hides inside a victim’s OS, slowly adding itself to the Startup folder and deleting volume shadow copies of victim files. Once it attacks, this underground work makes it extremely difficult to restore any encrypted data.

Locky and Cryptowall are notoriously harmful, so know their impact so you can detect and prevent the email security issues they cause.

How Do I Take Care of Crypto Virus Ransom Payments?

Do not pay the ransom if you are experiencing a crypto virus. Never follow the threat actor’s directions, as the hacker typically does not grant you access following the payment. Cybercriminals will not remove the virus, decrypt your files, or stop blackmailing you. These coercive email threats are meant to convince you to act quickly without thinking but can result in money loss that has no positive outcome.

How Do I Identify a Crypto Virus Attack?

crypto virusCrypto viruses come in a variety of forms, but here are the most significant email security threats to look out for when determining what email attack types you might be dealing with:

  • Questionable Messages: If you receive suspicious emails, report them to your security team. Avoid opening links and attachments that could enable malware ransomware and phishing attacks.
  • File Changes: If you notice any changes to file names or access, that could indicate someone tampered with it, making it infected. Do not open the file if you pick up on these alterations.
  • Pop-Ups: If you are getting pop-ups asking for a ransom payment, you may have already downloaded or opened a file with malicious code. Do not respond to the notifications; remember not to pay the ransom.
  • Slow Online Performance: If your device struggles to work at an average pace, a crypto virus attack could be working through and encrypting your files. Notify your security team and keep note of varying bandwidths and odd network activities.

Knowing these indicators of compromise is crucial to acting efficiently in response to a crypto virus attack. Keep these threats in mind to protect your email security.

How Can I Prevent A Crypto Virus and Protect Myself?

You can prepare your system in various ways if a ransomware attack reaches your server. Unfortunately, crypto viruses can damage your company files beyond repair. Still, these are some of the best email security practices you can implement to prevent a crypto virus from being detrimental to your business's daily operations:

  1. Update antivirus software, anti-phishing protection, and malicious URL scanners you implement on your server so they can warn you of any risk of breaching your system successfully.
  2. Regularly back up your data on multiple devices if a computer faces a compromised account. Then, you will have your files saved elsewhere to recover.
  3. Enable full-file extensions so you can spot suspicious files more easily.
  4. Avoid opening suspicious attachments, files, or links from addresses or accounts you do not recognize so that malicious code does not have a chance to enter your system.
  5. Only use software that you have obtained safely. Pirated software can be riddled with infections and viruses that can harm more than help a server.

How Can I Defend Against or Remove Crypto Viruses?

cybersecYou must implement a defense-in-depth approach into your web and email security software to prevent crypto viruses and ransomware from entering your server. Cybercriminals have created fileless techniques for infecting a system with malware and other email threats, making it easier for them to evade detection and exploit systems. Unfortunately, antivirus software is only so effective on its own. Hence, you must combine it with other email security solutions to stay as up-to-date with modern email security issues as possible. Here are some ideas to keep in mind should you encounter a crypto virus attack:

  • Use antivirus software to remove the virus. However, this technique cannot always altogether remove the email threat.
  • Install a malware removal tool that detects and deletes ransomware and crypto viruses before they become email security risks.
  • Utilize system restore options on your computer to revert your computer to an earlier version. Though you will return the device before the attack, the files may not decrypt themselves.
  • Reformat the computer hard drive to delete the crypto virus. This procedure erodes all the files and applications in your system, so be careful if you use this trick.

Stop Crypto Viruses with Guardian Digital

Combatting and removing crypto viruses can be quite taxing on a company that needs more time and resources to dedicate adequate efforts to eliminating the risk. While the suggestions we offer above can prove helpful in an independent setting, working on a larger platform or server requires a more robust email security system. If a crypto virus has a more extensive surface area to attack, it could compromise servers, hard drives, storage, and accounts more detrimentally. Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security software is a multi-layered solution that can help businesses of all sizes defend themselves against crypto viruses and other email threats. EnGarde has attachment and malware URL scanners that detect ransomware in real-time, analyzing every email that enters your system to verify that you only see safe, legitimate emails in your inbox. Consider implementing EnGarde into your business operations to strengthen your company's safety.

Final Thoughts on Crypto Virus Protection

Crypto viruses can be incredibly harmful to a server, as they take over and decrypt files, only promising to return them after victims pay a ransom. However, these payments typically do not grant users full access to their servers or remove most viruses and malware from their systems. Therefore, knowing how to detect, protect against, and prevent a crypto virus attack is vital in mitigating this email security risk. We have discussed various options from which you can choose to combat these dangerous email threats. The best practices for email security involve using Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security as a solution to keep your system safe against all issues that could head your way.

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