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Ransomware

Saturday, 12th October, 2013

By By Emily Roberts

A computer virus called “Crypto Locker” has been winding through computers in the city and holding people to ransom.

IT consultant Heidi Hendry said the virus encrypted files and then popped up a message demanding money.

“It will hold you to ransom,” Ms Hendry said. “It will either ask for $100 or $300 depending on the variant.”

People’s computers become infected after they click on a link in an email from an unknown source, Ms Hendry said.

“The emails will look legitimate,” she said.

“The user opens the link which they think is real, but the link will install the virus.”

Ms Hendry said some anti-virus software did not protect computers from the “Crypto Locker”.

“There are preventative measures people can use to stop the virus,” she said.

“Don’t click on any links in emails from people you don’t know.

“Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and take regular back-ups of your computer.”

She said computer users with infected computers should not pay the ransom.

“Contact your local IT person. Your computer will need to be rebuilt and restored from your back-ups.

“If you haven’t got any back-ups, you could lose everything (on your computer).”

She said the damage could be fixed as long as people got in touch with their IT specialist.

“Businesses have a comprehensive back-up system,” Ms Hendry said.

“Generally computer users don’t think to back up their system.

“You can buy an external back-up drive. All regular operating systems have a built-in back up drive, they just need to be run.”

Ms Hendry said another important thing was computer education.

“It also important to remind people that computer companies, like Mac and Microsoft, will never call you,” she said.

“If people call and say they can clean your computer, don’t respond to the call. It is a scam.”

She said TAFE, the BH Library and Robinson College run computer classes for people wanting a better education on their computer.

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