Over the years I have told my customers repeatedly that they should NEVER open attachments received with emails no matter who they are from unless they verify that the person actually did send that email with the attachment. It’s just too dangerous for the average user.
Well, last week one of my customers opened an email attachment and installed the Cryptolocker 3 malware on her computer. This program runs in the background and searches your entire hard drive for data files and backups of those data files. Once it has concluded it’s search it then encrypts these files and asks for a $700 ransom to unencrypt them.
At this time there is no known way to unencrypt these files without paying the ransom. Basically she lost everything of value from her computer with no way to get it back except by paying $700 by simply clicking on an attachment in an email that seemed perfectly innocent to her.
That being said, when I was trying to help her out I discovered her anti-virus had been uninstalled. She has no idea how that happened. It may have been some other malware that disabled or uninstalled her anti-virus. No way to know at this point. If it had been there it may have protected her. I use Bitdefender Free for my customers and Bitdefender claims to be able to block the Cryptolocer 3 malware. This is the anti-virus that was on her computer the last time I worked on it.
The lesson here is that you need to periodically check to see if your anti-virus is there AND working properly.
And finally, NEVER OPEN ATTACHMENTS THAT COME WITH EMAILS NO MATTER WHO IT IS FROM unless you verify with the person that they did in fact send you that email with that attachment!!!