A woman writing on a white screen, The theme of what she is drawing is the cloud.

The Crypto locker virus and why you should care

You might be mistaken for thinking that Crypto Locker virus is some kind of illness you might get. It’s actually a lot more sinister than that! Crypto Locker Virus is a particularly nasty type of computer virus that targets computers running Microsoft Windows. It’s not YOU that needs to be afraid, it’s your PC.

What does The Crypto locker virus do?

Crypto Locker quite literally locks computer data and holds it to ransom. You can only get the data back once you’ve paid a ransom.

If all your important data files, including bookkeeping and client details, are no longer available, then you are in trouble. Even if you access files on a fileserver, NAS device, USB drive, thumb drive, and even a colleague’s computer, these files are still vulnerable to this virus. This means that in an office full of PCs all connected to each other or a central file storage device, a single infected PC can result in total company data loss.

Many have experienced the appearance of a message on the screen about a virus infection, but times have changed; there’s much more valuable information on computers now and hackers are exploiting this. Crypto Locker is therefore also known as ransomware. Its effects have so far proved impossible to overcome once a computer is infected, without paying the ransom.

So it locks your data…..is that all?

Crypto Locker does indeed lock your data – everything on your hard drive! But that’s not all, it will actively search for files on ALL your drives as well as your hard drive. This could be anything such as shared folders with work colleagues to ones you share with your clients or employers. Nothing is safe, the Crypto Locker virus is relentless and without mercy.

Money, money, money

Once Crypto Locker has locked you out of your files it then demands money. This comes in the form of a page that pops up on the screen with payment options for the ransom. It also tells you that your all-important files are encrypted and that any attempt to remove it will in fact trigger a countdown clock.Once this clock has timed out all your data is destroyed permanently.

Key to the whole thing

The key that could possibly decrypt the files is held by the creators of Crypto Locker.

So what can you do – Is the Crypto Locker virus invincible?

Unless you have a good backup, there is nothing that anyone can do to get your data back once this insidious virus has gripped your data. We can remove the virus from your PC, but the data will still be locked.

However, before you become completely despondent, there are things you can do to protect yourself from this and other viruses:


Always ensure that you have a current and paid-for anti-virus product. Free anti-virus products are quite good, but do not afford you anywhere near the protection of a paid-for product. Bean IT are Silver Authorised AVG reseller, and can supply you with the appropriate AVG product for your computer system.


Make sure you BACKUP all your files regularly. Once you’ve done this, remove your backup drive and store it somewhere else. Bean IT have already been able to save several clients where this virus has got onto the Network via a PC and even all files on the Server have been encrypted. Fortunately our clients had taken up our off site backup service so we were able to quickly get them up and running again.

Be proud of the Cloud

You can create several different back-ups online via Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox to name but a few so you have many versions of your files as well as on your more conventional hard drive. Or, as mentioned before, avail yourself of the very economical and automated off site backup service offered by Bean IT.


Don’t open links you don’t recognise, if you have a firewall on your computer or virus protection software, then they may well warn you that the link may contain a harmful virus before you open it. Suspicious links often come in emails, so if you’re not sure send them to your deleted file and don’t open them.

Furthermore, infected email attachments are one of the primary sources of virus infections;don’t open ANY email attachments unless you are expecting them.If in doubt, contact the sender of the email and confirm that they did send you the attachment.

The best form of defence we can rely on against the Crypto Locker is prevention, because with this virus – there may be no cure if you don’t have secure and valid backups.