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End of Support for Windows XP/Office 2003, Cryptolocker, and Cryptodefense

On April 8th, 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP and Office 2003. While Windows XP is extremely vulnerable now, 25% of Windows users are still running the operating system. In addition, roughly 30% of businesses are using Office 2003 despite the risks. And that’s dangerous considering the amount of viruses continuously introduced into embedded code in documents like .doc or excel spreadsheets.

If you’re running Windows XP or Office 2003, your PCs will become vulnerable to malicious attacks. Think about it: new types of viruses are introduced each day. If you’re not receiving security patches and updates, these viruses will impact your systems. In fact, new ransomware, similar to cryptolocker, was discovered in the past few months.

The ransomware is known as cryptodefense, which infects your PC in the same manner that cryptolocker infects your PC; however, it targets text, picture, video, PDF, and MS Office files; encrypting files with an RSA 248 key – a key that’s 2084 bits long so it’s virtually impossible to break.

This should be a rude awakening for those who are still using Office 2003. If your PC is infected, you have two options: pay the fee and hope for the best or wipe your PC and start from scratch. The fee starts at $500, however, if you don’t pay within 4 days, the fee jumps up to $1000.

And the worst part is, cryptodefense triggers the backup software on your PC to back up encrypted files over the original, unencrypted files. Ultimately, this replaces your backup files with encrypted files. While most current versions of anti-virus software will detect the ransomware, there’s no way to remove the infection. So what’s the best way to protect your PCs? Cryptodefense is sent as an email attachment, so it’s critical to avoid opening attachments within emails. Even if the email appears to be from a legitimate source, contact the sender and verify.

To learn more about the end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003, or if you have any questions or concerns regarding cryptodefense, give us a call at (831) 753 -7677 or send us an email at info@alvareztg.com. Alvarez Technology Group can help you stay up to date on the latest security threats. 

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