Computer experts warn of CryptoLocker virus

Crypto locker

TYLER (KYTX) -  A warning for all computer users. Technicians say a virus called the "CryptoLocker" is spreading across the country and at businesses right here in East Texas.

It usually comes as an email attachment in a .zip format. The email looks like it's coming from a reputable company, but that's just to trick you. When you open the file, the virus is launched and encrypts all of the files on your computer within seconds. Technicians say they've never seen a virus quite like this before. 

"It's very nasty. This is the worst we've ever seen before. Before, we've seen where they've hidden files. We've seen where they've renamed the files. But, this is the first time they have actually prevented you from being able to get back to your data again in a normal fashion."
Computer expert Tom Baum says CryptoLocker is also nicknamed "Ransomware" because if you want your files back, you have to pay thousands of dollars to your hacker.
"They're going to tell you to tell you to contact this website and then you have to pay a ransom in order to get your data back. And then, they will give you the instructions in order to get the data back. "
Kaylen Burgess with the better Business Bureau of Central East Texas says that's not even a guarantee.
"It holds your computer hostage more or less. All of your files are their property. They can pretty much access anything."

A vulnerable situation that's already affected local businesses.
"When it hits a business, it's a scary thing because they do have access to different information, but the business here did jump on it very quickly and they were very proactive."

She says you can protect yourself from the CryptoLocker by backing up your files and keeping them in a remote location or cloud storage.

If a company you use typically doesn't send you personal emails or if it looks suspicious, call them and ask about it before you open an email attachment from them, especially if it's a zip file. Experts say that's the dead giveaway that it's the CryptoLocker virus.


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