CYBER ALERT: Cryptolocker Ransomware Virus Circulating

October 21, 2013

Better Business Bureau* serving Saskatchewan has been advised that an upgraded and very serious ransomware virus known as Cryptolocker, Crilocker, and Crilock is increasingly active in the global marketplace. Ransomware has been an issue in the cyberworld for a number of years targeted largely at consumers and historically removed easily by knowledgeable computer users with access to virus removal software tools.

This version is much more dangerous as it encrypts data on computers and linked computer networks that subsequently requires a matched decrypting “key” to decrypt the data and remove the threat. The decrypting key is available and allegedly sent via the malware tool to your computer provided the ransom amount is paid within a defined time frame, typically 100 hours. Failure to pay the ransom and acquire the key in the defined time frame allegedly results in the destruction of the decrypting key and permanent encryption of your data. It functions in the same manner as it is delivered through links and attachments contained in email communications, and can be transmitted via a botnet tool hitching a ride on other malware or virus communications that may already exist on your computer and in your computer networks. Once embedded it will activate, encrypt your data, and generate a pop-up screen with information about the actions to be taken to obtain the decryption key required to decrypt your data files.

It is a particularly hazardous virus for business and professional networks where the potential loss of data is likely to be both a significant problem and a costly event. Given the particularly challenging nature of Cryptolocker, experts in cyber security recommend prevention as a much better strategy than searching for a curative approach after the virus has arrived on your computer or in your network. An internet search will yield a number of sites with significantly more detail on this specific new generation malware than is contained in this Release.

All business organizations and consumers are encouraged to take the following preventative steps:

Update your anti-virus software and firewall protection tools on a regular basis;

Stay patched. Keep your operating system and software up to date;

Avoid opening attachments you weren't expecting, or from people you don't know well;

Ensure that your employees are well trained in and acutely aware of cyber risks;

Make regular backup copies of your data, and store the backup copy safely, preferably offline.

If a consumer or business has any questions regarding these calls or calls of a similar nature, please contact the BBB* serving Saskatchewan
at (306) 352-7601 or toll free to 1 (800) 352-7601. You can also email us at or contact us online at The Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan Inc. is a non-profit organization funded by accredited businesses throughout the province.

“The BBB… developing, encouraging and promoting

ethical business practices in the marketplace.”

*Trade-mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus used under license