Despite its comic-sounding name, the threat posed by the new computer virus is quite real.
CryptoLocker is a very serious computer virus that is rapidly spreading. This virus is something you should be aware of at work and at home.
CryptoLocker encrypts your computer files and requires you to pay a "ransom" to unlock them. If you do not pay the ransom, you will never have access to the files again unless you have a backup of your computer prior to the infection. Some victims have reported paying the ransom, but never received the unlock key. If this happens to you and you don't backup your files on a regular basis, your files will never be recovered, not even by a computer expert.
Steve Ervolino, Dupaco's senior vice president of information technology, offers these tips to help avoid having your computer infected with CryptoLocker or other viruses:
- NEVER click on links or attachments in emails you were not expecting, even if you know the sender.
- NEVER click on the links if you receive an email from FedEx, UPS, Amazon, PayPal, etc. referencing a shipment or account reset, etc. Open your web browser and type in www.fedex.com or www.paypal.com, etc. click on the links. They may look safe, but what you can’t see is that the link may not take you to the legitimate website you were expecting.
- NEVER click on random ads or pop ups when visiting websites. It’s always safer to manually type in the address.
- If it doesn’t “look or feel right” it’s very likely not safe
At home it is recommended that you backup your computer to an internet-backup service, not just an external hard drive or other computer in your house as the CryptoLocker virus will encrypt them too.