Cryptolocker: ransom malware - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Cryptolocker: ransom malware

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Some might say Britney is living dangerously, along with her friend Tyler who tells us he depends on his computer for just about everything. They have never heard of Cryptolocker.

Tech experts say Cryptolocker computer attacks are no joke. Once the malware, not to be confused with a virus, has invaded your computer you'll see a message on your computer screen. It amounts to a cyber-ransom note saying all your data will be deleted unless you pay.

British security software company Sophos intentionally infected one of their own computers to demonstrate exactly what happens. Once your computer is essentially kidnapped, either you pay up within 72 hours or Cryptolocker will delete all your files, including pictures and emails never to be seen again.

Jill Scharr of Tom's Guide says Cryptolocker can get in your computer though email, download or is an existing piece of malware already on your computer. Scharr says you can make your chances of not getting the malware much better by backing up your files onto a hard drive or reputable back-up service, getting yourself some solid antivirus software, and never opening emails, especially attachments, if you're not sure who sent them.

Perhaps most troubling, Scharr says catching the sinister people doing this is next to impossible.

Cryptolocker has virtually endless stream of potential victims -- anyone who uses a computer.

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