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Beware: The Crypto Locker Computer Virus Strikes Again

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on February 13, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Crypto Locker virus strikes again -- this time targeting the computers of a law firm in North Carolina.

Using a deceptive email, the Crypto Locker virus locked the firm out of all their computer files and demanded a ransom to release the documents, Charlotte's WSOC 9-TV reports.

As if jury and arrest warrant scams weren't enough, law firms need to be aware of the Crypto Locker virus and what can be done to protect your files.

What's Crypto Locker?

In addition to have a creepy name, the Crypto Locker comes from the depths of your data management nightmares. Crypto Locker targets commonly used documents like Excel spreadsheets, Word and PDF documents. The perpetrators behind the virus then demand a ransom between $300 to $500 in order to get your documents unlocked, according to WSOC. So far, the Crypto Locker people have made $30 million from their "business."

While using a virus to lock out pedophiles may be a genius idea, law firms are losing business by being locked out of their files. The Crypto Locker is also difficult for tech geeks to crack. Not only was the firm's IT department unable to get rid of the virus, but they were also warned that if anyone tried to tamper with it, the files would be permanently locked, according to TechWorld.

How To Avoid Getting Locked Out

Spotting this virus can be just as difficult as getting rid of it. The virus masqueraded as a standard email from the firm's phone answering service, TechWorld reports. Knowing this, perhaps law firms who use the same type of answering machine-to-email service can check their voicemails for messages before opening up the email file.

However, the most surefire way for firms to protect themselves from getting locked out by the Crypto Locker is to constantly back up their files. As soon as the virus is opened, it begins locking your documents. So try to back up your files at least once every hour on either a cloud storage system or external hard drive.

Fortunately for the law firm, no confidential client information was taken, according to WSOC.

How do you keep your files secure? Tell us on Facebook.

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