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Virus holds computer files ransom

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - By Elizabeth Rawlins

A computer virus is holding files hostage. Hackers are targeting people and businesses across the nation. It's called Cryptolock. It comes in the form of an email from what appears to be a legitimate business. Once you click on the link in the email, you become its next hostage. Joel Gulick, CFO of Computer Solutions, says some customers received an email from what they thought was UPS. It included a tracking number link for a package.

Once they clicked on that link, the virus downloaded in seconds infecting their computers and networks. It basically locked people out of their files and the only way to unlock them was to pay money. Gulick says he knows of four people in the Savannah area affected by this, and he's heard the ransom to be as high as three hundred dollars. "It is very dangerous," said Gulick. Once your files are encrypted, you need a private key in order to decrypt them and at this point that key is not available. So once the program has encrypted your files, it encrypts your databases, word documents, and excel documents. This is very dangerous for companies if they get infected by this bug. Fortunately the virus will not damage your hardrive, but Gulick says there is not much you can do once it's on your computer. The best way to protect yourself is through firewalls and regular virus scans.  If you're a business owner, make sure you are monitoring your internet access and educating your employees about not opening emails from unknown senders.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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