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New Virus Holds Computers for Ransom
DAYTON -- A new computer virus sweeping the nation doesn't just attack your computer, it holds your documents for ransom.
Everyone with a computer should be aware of this virus. You can get it just from visiting your favorite website
Right now, the only way to get rid of is to pay.
Meet Cryptolocker, the hijacking computer virus that experts call the most advanced of its kind. Cryptolocker kidnaps all your existing files and encrypts them.
"When they're encrypted they look like garbage, but the content is all really there. You need to decrypt it," Wright State Professor Prabhaker Mateti said Monday.
But the decryption comes at a price, with a countdown.
The virus demands different amounts, up to $300, to the beat of a ticking clock. When the clock runs out, WSU Computer Science Professor Prabhaker Mateti says, your files are gone forever.
"The security community opinion is that is that. Your files are gone. If you pay the money, if they will decrypt them for you, we don't know, but it is at that point, " Mateti continued.
Professor Mateti says the virus has the potential to attack any operating system and even smart phones, but right now just targets Windows operating systems.
The bad news is it's almost impossible to protect yourself.
The virus originates from simply visiting a website or opening a link from an email. Currently it's impossible to know which, or even how many sites are carrying the virus.
The good news is help is near.
"All these anti-virus companies are going to be working hard to remove the virus," Mateti said. "That will probably happen in a few days."
While experts work on a fix, the best and really only way to protect yourself is to backup all your files to an external hard drive. And of course steer clear from unknown files.
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