Recently I encountered one of the most damaging viruses I have seen since starting my business. A customer dropped of their computer complaining of a virus and that she could not open any of her documents. This new virus started appearing in September 2013. Once loaded on the computer, usually from an email attachment, the virus encrypts all Microsoft office documents and pictures. This means that the user is unable to open these files. The virus also looks for external hard drives and mapped network drives and encrypts those documents as well. Once finished with the encryption the virus pops up a notice requesting $300 to recover the encrypted data. It threatens that if you don’t send the money within 48hrs it will delete your encryption key and you will never recover your data. I was able to remove the virus from the computer but there was no way to remove the encryption from the documents.
Currently antivirus programs are not preventing this virus from encrypting documents. They can remove the virus after encryption but by then it is too late. Hopefully a new update will catch this virus before it is aloud to execute. The best defense is to have a backup of your data that is offsite and not attached to your computer. If your backup is attached to your computer when the virus starts then it may also be encrypted. If you have been infected with this virus or wish to protect your data against this kind of attack I would be happy to help you. Below is a YouTube video that describes this new virus.