5 viruses to be on the alert for in 2014

Security

by Duncan MacRae| 09 February 2014

Could your computer already be infected?

Cybercrime causes a good share of cyber-security incidents. Symantec estimates that cybercrime victims worldwide lose around €290 billion each year, while a McAfee study put cybercrime profits at €750 billion a year.

It is estimated that there are more than 150,000 computer viruses in circulation every day and 148,000 computers compromised daily. Here are some of the viruses you should be particularly wary of this year.

Cryptolocker

This particularly nasty virus, first discovered in September 2013, is a Trojan Horse ransomware that targets computers running Microsoft Windows. A CryptoLocker attack can come from various sources - one such is disguised as a legitimate email attachment.

When activated, the malware encrypts certain types of files stored on local and mounted network drives using RSA public-key cryptography, with the private key stored only on the malware's control servers.

The malware then displays a message offering to decrypt the data if a payment (through either Bitcoin or a pre-paid voucher) is made by a stated deadline. It threatens to delete the private key if the deadline passes. If the deadline is not met, the malware will then offer to decrypt data via an online service provided by the malware's operators, for a significantly higher price in Bitcoin.

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