Recent Malware Forcing Victims to Pay for Data Retrieval

Lately, Backblaze has been seeing a few reports stating that a very specific type of ransomware, known as CryptoLocker, that takes control of a victim’s computer and holds it hostage until that victim pays to get it removed. It is known as ransomware because if Cryptolocker is not paid within a specific timeframe, it will destroy the key that is needed to unlock your computer’s data, making the data and files on your computer and any attached external or backup drives permanently inaccessible.

Backblaze Is Not an Anti-Virus

Some Backblaze users have been writing in to ask us if Backblaze protects them against their data being held hostage by such programs. The answer is, yes.

While Backblaze is not an anti-virus or anti-malware software, in this particular case Backblaze would be useful in ensuring that the data is retrievable. How does that work and what makes Backblaze different than an attached local backup? In cases like these, where the ransomware or malware takes control of and encrypts all the data on the user’s computer and external drives, the data is essentially locked with a very strong encryption key. The only way to unlock the data is to either break the encryption, or pay to have the key sent to you so that you can once again access your data.

We want remind our users to be very careful when opening up email attachments, and if something looks out of place, make sure you check it for malicious content before downloading and opening it.

How Backblaze Can Help

Since Backblaze is an unlimited and continuously running online backup solution and is not locally connected to your machine, all of your backed up files would be available for restore with minimal or no data loss (depending on the last backup time before the machine was infected).

What this means is that if you are a victim of ransomware like Cryptolocker, you could order a Backblaze restore from a date before your machine got infected, and then have your computer reset back to its factory settings, essentially removing everything, including the ransomware from it. You would need to reinstall all of your programs, including Backblaze, but the data that was on your computer before the infection, including your photos, videos, movies, music, and work documents, could all be safely restored.

Note: For the latest news on ransomware threats make sure to read “Locker: Cryptolocker Progeny Awakens.


About Yev

Yev Pusin is the senior director of Marketing and sometimes Marketing chief of staff at Backblaze, which he joined in 2011. Yev has a degree in business and communications from the University of Iowa, where he developed an alliteration affinity. Yev enjoys writing in an amusing way about the "why" of things and how decisions are made, so that readers can learn and be entertained all at once. Follow Yev on: Twitter: @YevP | LinkedIn: Yev Pusin