20 November 2013 | Category: Software
The Swansea Police Department were embarrassingly forced to pay ransom money after the Cryptolocker virus took hold of several of it's computers.
The virus which has also attacked home users, businesses and government agencies took hold of the computers and demanded $750 or the encryption of all of the files on the computer forever. The police department reluctantly agreed to pay the ransom after consulting with IT experts after they believed the threat to be real.
The Cryptolocker virus starts as a legitimate looking email that asks the unsuspecting user to open an attachment that appears to be an invoice. Once the attachment is opened the virus seizes control of the computer and displays a countdown timer that demands money or the encryption/deletion of the computers hard-drive. The ransomware usually asks for a payment to be made in bitcoins an online currency operated by peer-to-peer that is difficult to track.
Even though it's fairly straightforward to remove the virus, it's much more difficult to encrypt the files back to their original form.
Cryptolocker infected more than 8,000 computers last week.