Crypto Locker Virus: Once Your Computer is Infected, Hackers Demand Money

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
October 28, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

The Crypto Locker Virus is unique in that once your computer is infected, the people who spread the virus demand money, or else your files will be destroyed.

That’s what happened to an ABC affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama, where computers were “held hostage” by the virus, unless the station paid money.

“You buy this $300 Green Dot MoneyPak, you cannot use a credit card for it, it had to be cash or debit card. Once they claim the funds, they unlock your files. If those files had been lost, it could’ve affected 10 years’ worth of work by several departments,” Ron Thomas, the station’s director of engineering, told ABC.

“Ransomware causes your computer files to be non-accessible and when that happens you have two choices. You can recover if you have a backup which I hope you do or pay the ransom within 100 hours. If you do not pay the ransom you lose all of your data,” Anthony Mongeluzo, a computer expert, told Fox.

People are usually told to pay from $100 to $300, but sometimes as much as $700. 

He said that the people he’s been in contact with are asking for the money through the new form of currency bitcoin.

The virus is new and hard to detect.

“It will disguise itself as JPEG images, as PDF files, as Microsoft Office files,” Troy Viers, an IT specialist for WSET, said. The best form of defense is to not open any emails from anyone you don’t know, especially if the email has attachments.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.