How you can protect yourself from becoming CryptoLocker's next v - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

How you can protect yourself from becoming CryptoLocker's next victim

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Think of all the files you have stored on your home computer. Those may include pictures of your children, wedding or grandchildren. Now put yourself in the place of a business owner with decades of information.

What if those files were held hostage for ransom? That's exactly what a new computer virus is doing. It's called CryptoLocker and was born around a month ago.

"You get infected, and this is just like getting the flu," said Hoover Police Captain Jim Coker. "And they hold your computer hostage until you send them a payment."

The virus encrypts your files until you pay the ransomware $300. If you refuse to pay, the virus throws away the key to unlocking your files.

CryptoLocker hit ABC 33/40 twice.

"The first time we were forced to pay the $300, because we were not aware of what all it would do and we needed those files," said Ron Thomas, Director of Engineering and Operations. "Back up your computer, and do not open any files you're unfamiliar with."

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