Crypto Locker Virus Infects Computers Across U.S. - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Crypto Locker Virus Infects Computers Across U.S.

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There's a new computer virus out there to warn you about and it bullies you into taking the bait.

Some computer experts are saying this is one of the worst viruses they have ever seen. It only affects windows PCs but it essentially holds your computer hostage.

The bad news is once you get the virus, you don't really have any good options. You can either pay a set amount of ransom money or lose everything on your hard drive.

It's called Crypto Locker, a virus that's infecting computers across the country. It's delivered in the form of an email and users are tricked into opening it because it looks like it's from a legitimate company such as FedEx or UPS.

"Ransomware causes your computer files to be non-accessible and when that happens you have two choices. You can recover if you have a backup which I hope you do or pay the ransom within 100 hours. If you do not pay the ransom you lose all of your data," Computer Expert Anthony Mongeluzo said.

The ransom money ranges from 100 bucks to 300 bucks. Mongeluzo said some victims have had to fork over as much as 700 bucks.

"The way they're accepting payments is bit coin, a new form of cash that's been making headway on the Internet. It's used for lot of illegal activities." Mongeluzo said.

Unfortunately, Mongeluzo says if you have photos or files that you absolutely can't live without paying the ransom money is the only option. The problem is they hold a special key called a private key. You need that private key to unlock it.

"With technology, if you don't have that exact key you can never recover your data," Mongeluzo said.

If you get this virus, it may be a good idea to take your computer to an expert first. Some copycat viruses are showing up asking for money even though your computer isn't infected

The bottom line with this is prevention. Be very careful with any email you receive and make sure to back up all of your personal files.

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