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Real Halloween scare: Computer virus kills files


SEATTLE – Oct. 25, 2013 – You’re surfing the Internet when your browser suddenly crashes. A message then appears saying that your files are encrypted. If you want to access them again, the message says, you’ll have to pay a ransom for your data. Be careful: That’s a new computer virus, and it’s becoming more prevalent.

Experts are warning the public to surf carefully on the Internet to prevent getting infected by this latest bug, which will encrypt your files with a password that the scammer will refuse to give to you unless you pay them money.

This malware has spread over the last 18 months, Forbes reports, noting that one widespread version is CryptoLocker, which uses a countdown timer. It might tell you, for example, that you have to pay $300 for your files within 72 hours or they will be deleted.

Security experts are encouraging businesses to ramp up their backup procedures so if data is hacked, it’s not lost forever. Also, they say, make sure data security tools are up-to-date to detect and prevent possible threats.

Source: “Computer Virus Spreading That Means You Never Get To See Your Files Again,” Forbes (Oct. 22, 2013)

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Related Topics: Technology