New Computer Virus Locks Up Your Files And Holds Them For Ransom
If you have a computer that is hooked up to the Internet, you better get some form of anti-virus protection. Especially now with a new virus on the loose that can lock-up your computer files until you pay the creator a healthy ransom to unlock them.
According to digital security company Sophos:
It systematically hunts down every one of your personal files – documents, databases, spreadsheets, photos, videos and music collections – and encrypts them with military-grade encryption and only the crooks can open it.
You computer will work normally if it's infected but if you want to access what the crooks deem as "important documents" on your computer, you can't.
The virus is called CryptoLock and it's much different that any other "ransom" virus before. Crypto encrypts your files and the only person that can unlock the encryption is the crook who will ask you to pay upwards, and maybe even higher, than $300 in ransom.
Once the virus has been installed and activated, a message window will appear on screen with a countdown clock. The computer user, according to the countdown, has 72 hours to pay before the key-code to unlock the encryption is "destroyed."
How do you get the virus? It's sent as a hidden file in a ZIP file or PDF. Once the infected file is opened, bad things begin to happen to your files. Sophos says it could take days before the "countdown clock" appears but the encryption of the files begins as soon as the file is opened.
Computer experts say you should back up your files on a regular basis before something like this happens. That way you have your files saved somewhere safe and if you get hit with this malware, your files won't be effected too much. Also, make sure you have anti-virus and malware protection on your computer along with making sure it's updated.