The Crypto Locker virus is out and about on the Internet, via emails and attachments, according to Fox News and Web Pro News on Saturday. The costly virus doesn’t destroy your computer, but it will encrypt your files and leave them decrypted if you don’t pay the ransom request within an allotted amount of time. Basically, your files are useless to you if you don't pay up.
The infection on computers is traveling throughout the United States and hitting computers with the Windows operating system. Quite logically, the Crypto Locker virus is being tagged “ransomware” because it actually keeps your files much as someone would keep a human hostage – until you pay the required fee to set the files free. In the widespread photo of the virus email, the sender asks for $100 and includes methods of acceptable payment – cash or debit card, as credit cards are reportedly not accepted. Some have reported receiving requests for as much as $700. The message also counts down the 100 hours in which one has to pay to release the files – or they are destroyed.
Like previous computer viruses, the Crypto Locker virus is spread in emails that look innocent to the receiver, such as a FedEx or UPS email. Of course, the email isn’t really from them. When one opens the email, the infecting virus locks all of the files on one’s computer until the ransom is paid.
Experts say that the virus disguises itself as a JPEG image, PDF file or as Microsoft Office files. It is recommended that if a person receives an email from anyone they don’t know, delete it. Beware of attachments in any email.
Backing up important computer files is another way to deal with not having to pay the ransom, if one is hit with the virus.