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Computer Security Beat the Gameover Zeus & CryptoLocker Computer Virus

  1. The National Crime Agency's put out a major warning about this bug, which has infected at least 15,000 UK computers running Windows. It could be activated to steal your bank details. Do a Gameover Zeus Virus Check (below) and find out how to get Free Antivirus Software.

    Computer users with Windows are currently being urged by the National Crime Agency (NCA) to check their machines for a new computer virus. At least 15,000 computers have so far been infected with the virus, which contains two parts - Gameover Zeus and CryptoLocker.

    What's happened?
    The virus has been sent out to computers around the world, typically through a bogus email attachment or link. Once it's downloaded, criminals have access to personal accounts including passwords and financial details.

    On Mon 2 Jun, the NCA announced that, working with the FBI, it had temporarily taken control of the communication networks these criminals use to connect with the infected computers. But it expects it'll only keep control for around two weeks - and so is urging people to check their computers for the virus in the meantime.

    How does the virus work?
    It contains two types of malware:

    - Gameover Zeus, GoZeus or P2PZeus: This malware lets a criminal take control of your computer. They can then access files stored on the computer, look at private info such as bank or credit card accounts, and send emails in your name.

    - CryptoLocker: This part is 'ransomware'. A criminal locks down a computer, then issues a ransom demand stating that if a sum of money is paid out, the user will get back control of the computer – although there are no guarantees this will happen.

    The attack works by the first part of the virus, Gameover Zeus, searching your machine for data. If it doesn’t find enough information worth stealing then the second part, CryptoLocker, will kick in and the computer will be held to ransom.

    What do I need to do?
    Some internet service providers have directly contacted users who they know have been infected with the virus. But even if you've not been contacted directly, the NCA is advising all users to scan their computers. Windows PC users and those running Windows on Macs may be affected - though Windows mobile phone users aren't.

    Step 1: Scan with a special tool. While standard antivirus software should protect your computer from most threats, to be safe, the NCA is advising everyone using Windows to use one of the following free, specially-created programs to check their computer isn't affected.

    • Symantec
    • F-Secure: F-Secure Online scanner (Windows Vista, 7 and 8) and F-Secure Rescue CD (Windows XP systems)
    • Kaspersky: Use this link if you think your computer is infected with malware and this WindowsUnlocker utility if your computer is infected with CryptoLocker.

    • Sophos (Windows XP (SP2) and above)

    • Heimdal Security (Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1.)
    • Microsoft: Microsoft Safety Scanner (downloaded onto Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP)
    • McAfee
    • Trend Micro (Windows XP, Vista, Windows, Windows 8/8.1, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2).
    You can use any of the above which are suitable for your system, regardless of which security software you usually use. For full details, see the Get Safe Online website.

    Step 2: Make sure you're protected in future. It's important to ensure your computer is always protected with reliable, up-to-date antivirus software to protect it against threats as they arise. See our list below for the best free options - and make sure you always keep the software regularly updated. (There is a list of software here that can help you - Free Antivirus Software)
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