GameoverZeuS and Cryptolocker: How to protect yourself

On 2 June the UK’s National Crime Agency warned that people have just two weeks to protect themselves against the Cryptolocker ransomware and a strain of the ZeuS (GameoverZeus) password sniffing malware – before both rise from the dead. The FBI disrupted the command and control systems for these pieces of malware, but the National Crime Agency thinks it is only a matter of time before a new command and control system is in place and attackers regain control of the malware.

Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, offered the following advice, “Our message is simple: update your operating system and make this a regular occurrence, update your security software and use it and, think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.”

Our advice is to ensure your operating system is updated and patched. The mechanism for doing this varies according to the operating system; for example, for Microsoft Windows 7, typing Windows Update into the search box in the start menu brings up the Update application so you can check for installed updates and see if there are any outstanding. Most operating systems allow a form of silent automatic update for critical issues.

A number of applications will allow you to check for updates: a useful tool is the Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), which is a free computer security solution that identifies vulnerabilities in non-Microsoft (third-party) programs.

There is a vast selection of anti-virus and anti-malware software available and selection is down to personal preference. We do recommend that you select a reputable piece of software, and the top 100 list produced by Virus Bulletin has a summary of the performance of the most common antivirus/anti-malware software. Selecting any of the software from the top quadrant will protect your machine. The important point is to keep the virus definitions up to date.

For further information and advice, please contact IT Governance on 0845 070 1750 or email servicecentre@itgovernance.co.uk.