Scary new malware could jeopardize your personal files - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Scary new malware could jeopardize your personal files

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Image: NBC News Image: NBC News

(WVVA and NBC) – A scary new malware is said to be infecting millions of computers -- encrypting personal files and demanding a ransom to unlock them.

Cryptolocker could be infecting your documents, photos, videos and databases without you even knowing it.

According to digital experts, the Malware systematically hunts down all your personal files and encrypts them with a military grade encryption.

The Malware is usually hidden inside of an attachment that looks like an ordinary zip file or PDF.

Your computer will still function normally. However, if it's infected, you can't access any of your personal files.

CyrptoLocker is different from other types of "ransomware" that have been around for many years now that freeze your computer and demand payment. They can usually be removed which restores access to your files and documents.

Not CryptoLocker – it encrypts your files. There's only one decryption key and the bad guys have that on their server. Unless you pay the ransom – within three days, that key will be destroyed. And as the message from the extorters says" "After that, nobody and never will be able to restore files…"

The typical extortion payment is $300 USD paid by Green Dot MoneyPak, or for the more tech savvy, two Bitcoins, currently worth about $400.

To instill a sense of urgency, a digital clock on the screen counts down from 72 hours to show much time is left before that unique decryption key is destroyed.

Experts say routine backups can help reduce the risk of losing your files forever.

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