Gameover Zeus, or GOZ as it is known, was designed to steal people's online banking login details thus allowing the criminals to clear their accounts. Computers were infected by the owners clicking on attachments or links in emails that looked innocuous. The malware also dropped a copy of Cryptolocker on the computers.
So there were two scenarios, either your login details were stolen and you lost money from your bank account or all the files on your computer were locked up and you had to pay a fine to unlock it.
The good news:
“US and European officials announced they had managed to crack the malicious software that has already been used to divert millions of dollars to bank accounts of criminals. The authorities have also cracked Cryptolocker – the scam that has already shutout hundreds of thousands of users from their own computers and ransomed the data.”
The bad news:
The criminals will be back and will find ways to restore their systems. Experts say we have a two week window in which to ensure that our computers are safe. That means, making sure that we have up to date anti virus software and that our operating systems are also up to date.
If you have a version of Windows that is still supported i.e. any of the ones from Vista onwards, then Microsoft will push updates to you which of course you should accept. You should also make sure that your anti virus software is up-to-date and if you haven’t got this software installed, you should see to this immediately. There are plenty of free versions out there to choose from or you can pay for something with a bit more functionality.
Last night I left my computer running so that my anti-virus software could perform a full scan using up-to-date virus definitions. I am pleased to say that no nasties were found during the process.
I never open suspicious files in emails in the same way I never follow those emails that insist I update my details for any online banking services so it was unlikely that I should have installed any malware. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
The really good news:
As much as my friend Pete dislikes Apple operating systems, they are rarely the subject of these sort of attacks. Because Apple has a much lower user base, it simply is not worth the effort for criminals to target them. In the same way, those who are running the various incarnations of Linux will be spared. The cost of running the most popular operating system is that we are the prime target for criminal activity.