Oh no, not another one! It seems like every day a new scam or virus is lurking out there, just waiting for someone to fall victim to a scheme. We have had several of these this past month, from the FBI warning, medical alert system and even the Microsoft person calling, just to name a few.
There are so many viruses being sent out daily, it is hard to keep up with. One of the newest, nastiest viruses is called the Crypto Locker (CryptoLocker) virus. All viruses are nasty, but this one will hold your computer for ransom. Yes, it really does hold your computer hostage until you pay. Imagine a virus that can hold your computer for ransom.
Here’s how it works. The Crypto Locker virus is spread through emails. These emails will look like they are being sent from an actual site, such as Amazon, UPS, the Better Business Bureau, your bank, ThinkGeek, Santa or even under a friend’s name. The emails contain a zip attachment, and when you open the email, it will infect the computer. The zip files look like a PDF file and use the PDF icon. This will look like a normal PDF file which you are used to opening.
After the virus is downloaded, it will be installed in your “Documents and Settings” folder. It will then scan your hard drive for different file types, such as family photos, Word documents, financial information or Photoshop, and then encrypt the files.
After your files have been encrypted, you will receive a pop-up window with a timer, stating you have 100 hours to pay the ransom. The cost of the ransom has been $300. Once you pay the ransom, you will receive a key to unlock your files. If the deadline passes and you did not pay, the key will be destroyed. If the key is destroyed, your files cannot be recovered; so they state. Payments will be collected through Green Dot MoneyPak or the new digital currency Bitcoin.
If you make the payment and it is verified, the program promises it will decrypt your files. The program does not promise you will get all your files restored.
Before deciding to make the payment, contact a computer tech, tell them you have the Crypto Locker virus and let them look at your computer.
With the Crypto Locker virus or any other virus, here are a few things to remember:
1. Always back up all your files on the computer.
2. Never open an email or an attachment unless you know for sure who is sending it.
3. Install anti-virus software and update regularly.
4. Have a good firewall protection.
We are now getting into the Christmas shopping season, and as consumers, we order a lot of different gifts online. Make sure before you open an email or attachment that you really ordered from this company and are expecting an email confirmation.
Remember: Don’t click on anything. Just delete!