law firm has bravely admitted losing its entire cache of legal documents to the Cryptolocker Trojan despite attempting to pay the $300 (APS180) ransom in a bid to have them unscrambled.
According to TV reports, Goodson's law firm in the North Carolina state capital Charlotte became the latest victim of a malware menace that was custom-written to lever ransom money from precisely this type of relatively cash-rich but time-poor firm.
The email infected a company server holding thousands of important documents after an email with a malicious attachment was mistaken for a message sent from the firm's phone answering service.
That error left every single document used by firm on its main server in an encrypted state, including Word, WordPerfect and PDF files, said Goodson's owner, Paul M. Goodson.
"The virus also warned if you tried to tamper or decrypt anything, it was going to be permanently locked and you could never open it," Goodson said.
After IT staff were unable to make any headway against the malware's encryption, Goodson tried to pay the ransom but discovered that the grace period - another nasty aspect of Cryptolocker - had expired.
The only blessing was that the malware had scrambled files and not stolen them, Goodson added.
According to the Wsoctv TV channel, local police were aware of at least 30 cases where paying the ransom had resulted in an unlock key being delivered. Balancing this, we should point out that not everyone has reported having this success.
Cold backups FTW!