The Crypto Locker virus has been infecting thousands of computers across the country, with reports coming from across the world that the new malware virus has been infecting Windows PCs and holding users ransom.
The malicious malware reportedly infects computers using Windows PCs via fake UPS or FedEx tracking notification emails. Once the malware infects the PC it holds every file on a user's computer ransom until they pay the hacker's demands.
All the files on a person's infected computer are cryptographically locked, meaning users are unable to access them until the virus owners release them again. The hacker has reportedly been demanding $100 in bitcoins within 100 hours to give people's files back to them.
A ticking clock counts down, showing the time limit that the user has to fulfill the demands.
The CryptoLocker virus spreads when the fake UPS emails are opened, and users are being warned not to open suspicious UPS emails that appear not to be authentic and are unexpected.
The file installs itself in the "Documents and Settings" folder, scans the hard drive and locks files associated with Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop.
A pop-up window with the countdown then pops up, along with details on how to pay the ransom.
If users give in to the hacker's demands and pay the ransom, a key is given to decrypt the files. However, if the ransom is not paid within the 100 hours, the files are permanently lost.
The Crypto Locker is one of the dangerous types of malware, known as "ransomware." If the ransom is paid, the hackers restore and decrypt the files, and return access to the hard drive.
So far, there is no security protection for this virus and users must be wary of opening any suspicious "legitimate-looking" emails.