Australian security experts have advised people to be on alert for a ransomware variant called Cryptolocker that infects systems and encrypts files.
It is spread via malicious links in spam emails which lead to pages that exploit system vulnerabilities.
Affected users are asked to pay the cybercriminal with a ransom in order to unlock the system and get the files decrypted.
- Fake emails on the rise, warns Telstra
- ACMA issues ransomware warning
- 16.5k malware infections reported daily in Australia
McAfee Asia Pacific CTO Michael Sentonas said the issue with Cryptolocker is that even it is removed, the files are not restored.
“The critical piece of advice is you need to make sure you have a great backup to get your files back. You also need to have up to date Windows patches and antivirus software,” he said.
“Our policy is not to share information about businesses that have been compromised but this is a malicious threat that is being seen globally.”
To avoid infection, a Symantec Australia spokesperson advised people not to open email attachments from unknown people, or visit untrusted websites or install unlicensed software.
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick