Know Your Ransomware Attacks Part I: Locker Ransomware

In the first of this two-part series, we take a closer look at how to recognize a Locker ransomware attack and, more importantly, how to defeat it.

This is the first story in a two-part series dealing with the different types of ransomware impacting businesses. Today’s installment focuses on Locker ransomware.

Presently, the Interent is seeing two types of ransomware attacks, Locker ransomware and Crypto ransomware. We’ll take a closer look at Crypto ransomware in a future piece, but today let’s focus on Locker ransomware, which is not as dangerous if you know how to handle the attack.

  • RELATED: Get educated on the increasingly sophisticated tricks hackers are using to enhance their ransomware attacks.

How to recognize Locker ransomware

Locker ransomware usually attacks an individual computer when the user visits a compromised website. The user will receive a screen pop up stating that Microsoft, Apple or some other support entity has detected viruses on the computer. The message also states the user should not shut down the computer as all data will be lost. The “Do not shut down” request is usually strongly suggested. It also provides a phone number, usually toll free, for the user to call in order to establish a support session with a service technician. If you attempt to cancel the pop up, it immediately returns. Your computer is virtually locked up and not usable. 

If the phone number is called, a service technican will attempt to estabish a remote session into the supposed infected computer. They will ask for credit card information and other information in order to allow the service technician to open a service session, sell you anti-virus and clean up the situation. They may also load software on the computer.

How to defeat Locker ransomware

The solution to Locker ransomware is simple: Shut off the computer. Do not re-start, but rather perform a complete shut down. You may not be able to perform a Windows shut down using software commands and if that is the case, perform a hard shut down by pressing and holding the computer’s power button. The computer is not usable as the cyber-criminal has it locked up via the connection to your computer. Shutting down breaks that connection and the cyber-crimminal loses his or her lock capability. Then restart normally and the pop up will not re-appear. Run a virus scan to be sure everything is normal.

In summary, if you get hit with Locker ransomware do not panic and do not make that phone call. Simply shut down the computer and restart normally and all shold be fine.

Steve Giordano is president of TeamLogic IT. Learn more about the company by clicking here.

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  • Next up: Know Your Ransomware Attacks Part II: Crypto Ransomware
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  • Know Your Ransomware Attacks Part II: Crypto Ransomware

    Presently the interent is seeing two types of ransomware attacks, Locker ransomware and Crypto ransomware. Locker Ransomware is usually fully recoverable but Crypto Ransomware is very dangerous and costly. 

    Crypto ransomware usually attacks an individual computer when the user opens an email and then clicks on an enclosed link or attachment within the email. The crypto ransomware virus launches when the link and/or attachment is opened. The user will receive a screen pop up stating all data on the computer has been encrypted and provides the amount of ransom, the deadline to pay and instructions on how to pay in Bitcoin.

    If the entry point computer is conencted to a network, the virus will quickly spread to any network shared drives. That means, if the computer is connected to the company server and the shared folders on that server, all of those shared folders will be encrypted. If there is a portable storage device such as a usb drive connected to the entry point computer, all the data on that usb drive will be encrypted. Likewise, if there is a portable device connected to the server, all data on that device will be encrypted. There are also instances where the Crypto virus has spread to other network shares including file sharing programs such as DropBox. In short, if the virus can see the shared drive, folder or file, that data will be encrypted and rendered unaccessable and unsable unless the ransom is paid in the timeframe specified. Your data is useless until you pay the ransom.

    In order to minimize the chances and affects of a Crypto ransomware attack, businesses should do the following;

    • Educate employess on what suspicious emails look like. Many times, the email containing the link or attachment exhibits signs that indicate it is dangerous. Make sure your employees can spot the danger signs.
    • Implement business class licensed (not free) anti-virus and business class email spam filtering. Business class applications are best suited to block and capture phishing and other suspicious email.
    • Implement company policies and procedures that restrict/prevent employees from checking their web mail (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) accounts using the company computers.
    • Lastly, implement business class backup that disguises the backup and does not allow the Crypto virus to see the network or server backup drive. If implemented properly, this backup can fully recover a network in as little as 1 hour with no lose of data and no ransom paid. 
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  • Next up: Lean and Agile Software Development
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  • Lean and Agile Software Development

    Jon Stahl, Founder and CEO of LeanDog, presents a comprehensive approach to enhancing your company's development efforts through a lean and agile methodology.

    Jon Stahl, Founder and CEO of LeanDog, presents a comprehensive approach to enhancing your company's development efforts through a lean and agile methodology.

    Listen here.

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  • Next up: LEED Certification and Green Leases—The Perfect Pairing
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  • LEED Certification and Green Leases—The Perfect Pairing

    Achieving LEED certification for a building is a significant accomplishment for a property owner. However, the potential energy savings for an LEED certified building may not be realized if the energy usage of the tenants is not aligned with the goals of an LEED certified building. One way to guarantee the alignment between owner and tenants is to incorporate green leases into the renting of space within an LEED building.

    Achieving LEED certification for a building is a significant accomplishment for a property owner. However, the potential energy savings for an LEED certified building may not be realized if the energy usage of the tenants is not aligned with the goals of an LEED certified building. One way to guarantee the alignment between owner and tenants is to incorporate green leases into the renting of space within an LEED building.

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    If your building is already LEED certified, take the next energy efficiency step! Incorporate green leases into your space in order to fully achieve the energy efficiency potential of your space.

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  • Next up: Lessons from the Deal
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  • Lessons from the Deal

    Selling a car is not that hard, selling a house is a lot harder. But selling your software company, now that can be challenging.

    Selling a car is not that hard, selling a house is a lot harder. But selling your software company, now that can be challenging.

    We host a group of software CEOs for a bi-monthly gathering to share challenges, successes and the occasional strategic case study. Last month, one member of our group shared the story of selling their company earlier in the year.

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    Impetus for the Deal

    • No strategic buyer was evident
    • No generational succession was possible
    • The timing was good – the business is strong and growing and the CEO feels he’s young enough for another “career”

    The Funnel

    • 100 potential buyers were contacted
    • 20 cleared the first pass
    • 8 presented to the company
    • 5 letters of intent were offered
    • 1 bidder won

    Lessons Learned

    • Not all private equity companies are the same, find a good cultural fit
      • The actually walked away from the first winner for that reason
    • Clearly understand your goals and what you want to accomplish with the transaction
    • Don’t fall in love with “life after the transaction” since it might distract you from the business or the deal
    • It’s all about EBITDA for the price, and really little else
      • So one needs to plan ahead and clean up the balance sheet and income statement
    • But you do need to tell a promising story that offers realistic future growth opportunities
      • They actually had to tell their story a few times before really finding their voice
    • Definitely us professionals to help market/advise/sell your company
    • Due diligence is as bad as everyone says it is (and they were very clean!)
      • Do some due diligence on the buyer too though

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    These are always interesting stories and we’re really, very happy for the company and their CEO. We’re all confident the company will continue to grow in the area and remain a prominent fixture in the region.

    But I will say this, I long for the day when the majority of these deals in the CLE are as acquirers, NOT acquirees.

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  • Next up: Let's Work Together Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!
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  • Let's Work Together Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

    Your air conditioner is a must in the summertime, and for every degree of cool air you want to circulate around your business, it’s costing you 3 to 5 percent on your air conditioning costs. 

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    Read more tips on how to save money on cooling and air conditioning costs here!

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