FBI warns of virus taking computers hostage

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The FBI and computer software companies are warning you about a sophisticated computer virus making a comeback in Indiana.

Ransomware essentially takes your important files for hostage, until you pay up.

Although the FBI wouldn’t specify on how many users have been affected, a spokesperson said that northeast Indiana has seen a dramatic increase in the past five years.

One of the latest victims was a local commercial real estate company.

“We were trying to open a file, a picture image file and the file came back with an error stating you are not allowed access to this file,” said Joy Neuenschwander, Director of Operations of The Zacher Company.

After that, business at The Zacher Company in Fort Wayne stopped for about four days.

If you don’t have your files backed up, Ransomware takes them hostage until you pay the price, usually between $500 and $1000.

“It’s been around for many years, but just recently, it started to come back into main stream,” said Jeremy Holle, Owner of Experienced Office Solutions.

According to Holle, within the last year, Ransomware has come back in the form of a virus, called Cryptolocker or Cryptowall.

“You click on an attachment that looks legitimate but its not or by going through certain websites will deliver the Ransomware all the data with pretty much unbreakable encryption,” said Holle.

“It’s very scary to think that clicking something like that could take down your whole company,” said Neuenschwander.

Holle said the best way to protect against online criminals is backing up your files and having anti-virus software.

Employees at the Zacher Company never clicked on that message.

However, after immediately calling 4 EOS, they found out the majority of their servers were infected.

“I think it really boils down to end user education. Don’t click on something if it’s not coming from someone you know of you’re not expecting an attachment, don’t open it,” said Neuenschwander.

Windows 7 and Windows XP have most commonly been infected.

If you think you’ve been infected, disconnect from the internet and call an IT company.

The FBI also recommends that you contact its Internet Crime Complain Center.


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