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Beware the CryptoLocker Virus

A new variant on an old virus is being spread. The CryptoLocker virus is similar to the ransonware we have been seeing the past several months, but it packs a powerful punch.

What does it do?

With the CryptoLocker virus, you will get a screen on your computer, similar to the photo above. It is basically telling you that your computer is infected, and it demands that you pay them $300 to get access to your computer again.

We have seen this type of ransonware going around for months. Only this one is much more dangerous. It will encrypt all of your data, if you do not pay the ransom in 72 hours. Once your data is encrypted, you can never get it back. No virus or security expert has been able to unencrypt files affected by this virus.

How do I get this virus?

This virus is being spread via email. You may get an email from from what appears to be your bank or credit card company, with a link to follow to perform some type of action. Once you click the link, you are infected with the virus. NEVER click on a link in an email, unless you asked for the link to be sent to you.

What should I do if I get this virus?

First, you should make sure you have a backup of your data. If you do not have a backup strategy, and you get this virus, you cannot recover your data. This virus has the ability to encrypt data in an attached hard drive that has a drive designation. In other words, if your backup is on your external drive labeled the “F” drive, the virus can get to it. If your data is backed up to an online data service, such as Mozy or Carbonite, then you have the ability to get your data back.

Second, you should never pay the ransom to get your data back. You are simply feeding organized crime if you do this. You best prevention is to be prepared up front with a good backup. But with that said, if you do get this virus, shut down your computer and call me.

The best thing to do to ensure your computer is clean after the virus is to format the hard drive (meaning erase all of the contents), and reinstall the operating system and all programs.

I know this is extreme. but this is an extreme virus. Virus experts are saying that this is the new type of virus we will be seeing into the future, so we need to prepare for it.

I am happy to help set up a backup strategy for you. Feel free to call and we can chat.

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