Heads up: You have 14 days to rid yourself of malware

Two nasty strains of malware are getting out of hand. But thanks to law enforcement, you have a small window of opportunity to protect yourself from GameoverZeus and Cryptolocker before they come roaring back. 

Thanks to a coordinated effort by law enforcement agencies worldwide, two particularly bad pieces of malware have been temporarily taken offline. Officials seized servers and shut down the services to allow businesses and users enough time to rid their systems of the viruses.

Cryptolocker is a piece of ransomware that encrypts all of a user’s files, bribing them in order to give them access to their own files. Failing to pay can result in losing access to the information forever.

GameoverZeus is malware that lies dormant on a user’s system before extracting banking information.

Once these malware strains are on a system, they can be extremely hard to remove. In fact, many companies and individuals have been forced to pay up as there’s no other good options for removal.

The clock is ticking

Experts predict the malware will only be stopped for two weeks, at most. Then it’s expected to come back just as strong as before.

In the meantime, IT should work to protect its systems immediately by:

  • Scanning systems. A number of free virus scanners are available online that can detect whether this malware may already be present on one or more system. (Of course, exercise caution and only download legitimate scanners.)
  • Patch immediately. Keep up-to-date with security patches on applications and operating systems. This is always a good rule, but it takes on added importance at times like these.
  • Warn users. Remind your users to follow good security practices at all times – on work or personal computers.