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(also win32.teslacrypt)

TeslaCrypt definition

TeslaCrypt, a type of ransomware, is malicious software that encrypts files on a victim's computer and demands payment to decrypt them. It was discovered in 2015 and has infected numerous computers worldwide. Initially, TeslaCrypt targeted game-play data for specific computer games, but newer versions also affect other file types.

When TeslaCrypt infects a computer, it installs a Trojan horse, then encrypts the victim's files. Encryption is quick, taking only a few minutes to encrypt an entire hard drive. Once the files are encrypted, TeslaCrypt displays a ransom note demanding a payment of $500 in Bitcoin. Failure to pay the ransom may result in permanent file loss.

Paying the ransom does not guarantee file decryption because the malware developers may take the money without decrypting the files. However, in May 2016, the cybersecurity community made progress by releasing a free decryption tool that could recover files encrypted by specific versions of TeslaCrypt. This tool reduced the impact of TeslaCrypt over time.

See also: decryption, encrypted file transfer

Implications of TeslaCrypt

  • Financial loss: Victims face unexpected expenses due to ransom demands.
  • Data loss: Personal or business data may become irretrievably lost.
  • Productivity loss: Critical downtime occurs as files become inaccessible.
  • Business disruption: Regular workflow is disrupted, impairing customer relations and profitability.

Protecting against TeslaCrypt

  • Regular updates: Patching system vulnerabilities reduces the chances of infection.
  • Firewall and antivirus: Detect and neutralize potential threats before they strike.
  • Email vigilance: Scrutinize all emails to prevent accidental malware downloads.
  • Data backups: Regularly back up data to ensure minimal disruption in case of infection.