Tales from the Cryptolocker – An Almost Scary IT Story
It was a dark and stormy afternoon. IT administrator John was shaking, nervously traversing the dark corridors of his normally familiar office. He’s trembling in the sight of moving shadows, squeaking office doors and abnormally pale, almost ghoulish faces inside dark rooms of various company departments and offices.
He was in a rush to help Jane with her innocuous problem – “My PC does not work!” – that she just reported. To John, it sounded just like hundreds of other IT issues that he has resolved over his illustrious IT admin career.
But, Jane’s face was pale and she looked scared. And, that’s not even what really concerned John. It was the huge FBI logo on Jane’s PC screen, next to a timer counting down, and something about paying money that got John’s attention.
“What did you do this time?” John asked Jane. Usually this question makes users frantic, trying to remember what they may have done wrong. However, this time Jane looked unusually calm, and the gloomy weather outside made the entire scene look even more scary.
“Trick or treat!” said Jane.
“Excuse me?” John stumbled.
“There were kids on this website, trick-or-treating, and asking for virtual candy. So I clicked,” Jane explained. John quickly realized that Jane was not calm, but somewhat shocked by the images on her screen and demand for money.
“Looks like you got Ransomware, it’s a kind of computer virus,” nodded John, as he has seen his fair share of this type of click-baiting before. “It’s called CryptoLocker, to be precise. Your files have been encrypted, and the virtual kidnappers are now demanding money for a decryption key.”
“Is it bad? Can you help? Do we have to pay?” she sobbed.
“Of course, I can help. And, no – paying would only encourage criminals to do this more,” John replied with confidence to assure Jane of a positive outcome.
Because John uses a full disk imaging backup solution for all users in his company, and is not scared of any empty threats related to ransomware. He quickly restarted Jane’s PC, started it from the boot CD, and restored the entire machine from the image, created automatically overnight.
In mere minutes, Jane’s PC was back to its former glory, including those three adorable kittens on the desktop’s wallpaper.
“Thank you John, you saved me! As always!” she exclaimed happily. “Now I can go and buy real candies for real trick-or-treating on Halloween, without worrying about losing my work and reports!”
“Don’t click on unknown websites and buttons in any emails anymore. And don’t eat too much of that candy!” said John with a smile as he left.
However, now his walk back to the IT department was very different. He was walking tall and confident, like a zombie killer coming back from a battle that ended in victory. The corridors and faces in the rooms looked brighter, and even the rain outside stopped!
John has just survived his Tale of the Cryptolocker!