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FBI Investigates CryptoLocker Virus

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Monique Griego 370x278 Monique Griego
Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new computer virus is threatening to not only wipe out your computer files but empty out your wallet.

Monique Griego has more on the virus being called “Ransomware” or “CryptoLocker.”

As the owner of a small computer business, Tabitha Hawk worried she’d struggle for business, but a new computer virus is keeping her Nashville business booming.

“Nowadays they’re getting more and more intrusive,” said Hawk.

They’re called CryptoLockers and they’ve been spreading and infecting computers for more than a year.

“It says that the computer has been blocked because of child pornography and that there were copyright infringements,” she said.

The virus essentially holds your computer hostage—asking for money and in return you get your files back unharmed.

“Because it’s full screen, it blocks any attempt of you being able to run your programs,” said Hawk.

These hackers typically ask for $300.

“Some people actually fall for it and I’ve had clients pay the money requested,” Hawk said.

Mainly that’s because the messages look legit, from the FBI or Department of Justice.

“I was probably getting two calls or more a day,” explained Hawk.

Some of the viruses have gone as far as hijacking your web cam and displaying your picture in the email to make you believe authorities are behind it.

“Even a lawyer called and was panicking because they had their picture taken,” Hawk said.

Hawk and the FBI want people to know paying the ransom won’t guarantee you’ll get your files back.

And these viruses are so advanced, even for a pro like her—it can be a tricky problem.

“It’s all a scam,” she said.

It’s estimated a typical repair of this magnitude to fix a virus could cost about $90.

If you’ve been a victim, you’re asked to report it to the FBI.

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