CryptoWall 2.0 was released in October, 2014 and is classified as Ransomware. Once the malicious software has infected a computer it begins to scan data files and encrypts files so that they cannot be reopened. Once your files are encrypted a prompt shows up to notify you of the location of the file and that you need to purchase a program to decrypt your files. Ransom costs start at $500 USD and after 7 days increase to $1,000. The ransom must be paid in Bitcoin and sent to the address that the prompt specifies (changes with each infection).
How Can/ Did I Get CryptoWall?
CryptoWall is being distributed through emails with ZIP attachments with executable files that are disguised as PDFs. These files are disguised as invoices, purchase orders, bills, complaints, or other business communications.
How do I Remove CryptoWall?
Unfortunately, there is no way to decrypt your files without purchasing the decryption program for the ransom amount. In order to retrieve your files the ransom will have to be paid through bitcoin.
Protecting yourself against CryptoWall and Other Ransomware
The best way to protect yourself from ransomware is to utilize cloud remote backup services. This allows there to be a version of your files that the program cannot reach, even if it does infect your computer. Using an external hard drive for backups may NOT be effective. If your drive is connected to your computer at the time of infection, your hard drive can be encrypted as well.