NEW ULM - New Ulm Police issued a news release Tuesday about a computer virus circulating in the area known as "cryptolocker" or "ransomware."
Cryptolocker can be installed on computers by opening an infected file via e-mail attachment. Once installed, the malicious program creates a secure link between your computer and a criminal's server. It encrypts personal documents and stores the private key, needed to unlock files on the criminal's server.
Once infected, the computer background will change accompanied by a popup screen stating your files have been encrypted and offering a method for restoring files. A countdown timer is displayed, limiting your time to act.
New Ulm Police reported two local businesses that fell victim to Cryptolocker.
To protect yourself from Cryptolocker, it is imperative that your computer have an active firewall and anti-virus program running with up-to- date virus definitions. Police recommend scrutinizing e-mail attachments before opening them and not paying the "ransom" as there is no guarantee criminals will release the private key.