There is a new computer virus taking its toll on workstations world wide, it's called the "cryptolocker virus", and this one is especially nasty!

At first, when it takes effect, you will notice a screen that pops up demanding either a $100 or a $300 ransom.  You will then notice that your Office and other important files on your computer have been encrypted, making them unusable. Other workstations on your network may have developed the same symptoms.

These low life software developing crooks have also given you a clock that counts down, giving you a timetable to pay your ransom before everything in your laptop or workstation is toasted.

Currently, there is no cure, so the virus' effects are irreversible.

This one is a tough one, and has IT professionals everywhere baffled.  The website that most IT people monitor for cures is also currently suggesting to pay the ransom.

How does your system become infected?  This infection is typically spread through emails sent to company email addresses that pretend to be customer support related issues from Fedex, UPS, DHS. These emails would contain a zip attachment that when opened would infect the computer. These zip files contain executable programs that are disguised as PDF files, as they have a PDF icon and are typically named something like FORM_101513.exe or FORM_101513.pdf.exe.

Needless to say, if you get one of those mailings, do not click on the attachment!

The only way to get your machine up and running again is by either paying the ransom, (yes the crooks will decrypt your files and get your system up and running again), or utilize backed up files, which hopefully you have made.  So, make sure that all your important stuff is backed up!

Sooner or later a cure will arrive, and sooner or later these software developers will be caught.  Until then, play it safe when opening your email attachments!