Cryptolocker Virus Targets Local Businesses through Scam Emails

Several local businesses have already reported being hit by the Cryptolocker Virus over the last few days.  Fake payroll tax emails carrying the malicious virus have shown up in unsuspecting employees’ inboxes which when opened encrypts computer files and forces victims to pay up before they can be “released.”  As much as $700 has been asked from victims for their computer files to be unlocked.

The emails, made to look like they came from the NSW Office of State Revenue, contain grammatically-challenged notice of assessments and refer to a 15 to 19 percent tax penalty.  These emails contain a link that when accessed, will direct you to a fake page.  If you visit the fake page, you will get infected with the Cryptolocker virus.

Tony Newbury, NSW Chief Commissioner for State Revenue said that upon testing one of the many infected emails it showed that until a ransom was paid, the virus will continue to destroy all files on an infected computer.  Additionally, they are nowhere near being able to pinpoint the origin and the total number sent out of these scam emails.  Nr. Newbury said, “These people are very good at covering their trail.”

Unfortunately, having an antivirus software installed on your PC may not be enough to detect and stop the scam emails that are being sent en masse to many businesses.  Right now, the only way we can prevent more computers from being infected is to tell as many people as we know.

“We can’t have these people make money from their criminal behavior,” Mr. Newbury added.

The Cryptolocker virus can be stopped from spreading if vigilance is heightened.  If you suspect an email to be a scam email, contact your IT department.  Do not click on any links that take you to an external site.  Do not open attachments.  Do not open any other files.  Have your IT personnel make sure that the suspected email is legit before you proceed any further.