It is critical that people with computers use this time wisely to make their PCs safe, and that they are aware of the risks involved with the malware
The international crisis management firm red24 (http://www.red24.com) has offered information on how to deal with new computer viruses that have already been responsible for worldwide computer users losing an estimated £60 million.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have both issued statements this week warning PC users with Windows operating systems of two new malware threats: GOZeus and CryptoLocker.
Although cyber criminals are constantly developing new types of malware through which they can commit theft and fraud, these latest versions are believed to be particularly destructive and infectious.
The head of consultancy at red24, Steven Thompson, said of the announcement, “The threat of cybercrime is nothing new, but this is a credible threat to anyone who uses Windows software, whether for personal or professional use.
“Personal users will be particularly vulnerable and should take appropriate measures.
“That is why we are offering this information, so that everyone, whether they are a red24 customer or not, can protect themselves and their personal information.”
Recent intelligence from the NCA indicates that more than 15,500 computers in the UK have already been infected, with thousands more at risk.
The NCA and FBI have taken a number of steps to prevent these attacks occurring imminently, including knocking out many of the servers used by the criminal groups responsible.
As a result, there is now a window of time, approximately two weeks, during which users can protect their computers against this malware.
Steven Thompson said, “Being given this two-week window is absolutely vital in the fight against these viruses.
“It is critical that people with computers use this time wisely to make their PCs safe, and that they are aware of the risks involved with the malware.”
How malware infects computers
Phishing emails are a common ploy for installing malware onto computers. These can be in the form of emails claiming to be from banks, government institutions or other well-respected or official bodies which encourage you to open a link or attachment. These are known as Trojans (links or files which contain hidden malware). Opening these links allows the malware to be downloaded onto the computer from a remote server.
Types of malware
Gameover Zeus, GOZeus or P2PZeus
When opened, GOZeuS will effectively be able to allow the malware creators to control it remotely. The malware can allow criminals to view files, monitor usage and send communications from the computer, including online banking transactions, personal details, online shopping. It may even be used to turn a webcam on remotely in order to physically monitor the user.
This ransomware prevents the user from opening files on their own computer, effectively locking it. A pop-up screen then appears which shows a countdown timer and informs the user that their computer has been locked. A payment of one Bitcoin (currently £200-300 approximately) is demanded from the user. However, even if this ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that the computer will be unlocked. CryptoLocker is often used as a back-up in case GOZeuS fails to work.
This information is aiming to help customers take the necessary precautions to secure their computers themselves. However, red24 will provide assistance should an incident occur.
In small-scale cases of identity theft as a result of the malware, red24 will provide advice and support over the phone to customers. For larger-scale incidents, such as a business or organisation being infected, a cyber-consultant will be sent to offer advice and assistance in person.
There are a number of steps that can be taken in order to limit the risk of a computer being infected by this malware:
• Ensuring that all anti-virus software is up-to-date, including patches from existing providers.
• Ensuring the validity of links and email attachments before opening. Be particularly aware of phishing emails.
• Using one of the following free tools listed below, provided by various software companies via Get Safe Online, to scan for the software on your computer:
o Symantec - http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/international-takedown...
o F-Secure - http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_global/online-scanner
o F-Secure Rescue CD - http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/labs_global/removal-tools/-/c...
o Sophos - http://www.sophos.com/VirusRemoval
o Heimdal Security - http://goz.heimdalsecurity.com/
o McAfee - www.mcafee.com/stinger
o Trend Micro - www.trendmicro.com/threatdetector
Should you require any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact red24.
We would be very happy to arrange an interview with red24 Head of Consultancy Steven Thompson or Global Risk Analyst Frances Nobes if you should wish.
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red24 is an international crisis management firm that specialises in cases of kidnapping, extortion and food contamination.
Originally founded in 1997, red24 has offices in Cape Town, London and New York. red24 has moved from an initial focus on corporate risk management to expand into other areas.
The British Bankers Association has accepted red24 as an associate member as of 2014. They are the only risk management firm to be accredited in this way.
One of the company’s specialities is in cyber-crime and identity theft, which makes them well-placed to offer support and advice on incidents related to these fields. They have worked with a number of high-profile clients in the past, and have formed working relationships with high street banks and travel insurance companies.
red24 is currently offering a travel safety package for all football fans travelling to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
red24, 3 Minster Court, Mincing Lane, London, EC3R 7DD. Telephone: 020 3291 2424. E-mail: email@example.com
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