Hackers have a new computer virus which has the potential to make them a lot of money, the Crypto Locker Virus.
Eliya Azoulay is the case manager at Expert Data Forensics, a company which specializes in investigating electronic evidence.
"[They] hack into the server and what they do is encrypt files, especially thick files, and then they leave little obnoxious notes requesting money to get the decryption codes," Azoulay said.
Recently Azoulay said one of her clients, an out-of-state law firm, had just that happen to them.
"That company did not have updated firewalls or updated service packs on their server," Azoulay said.
Azoulay's team started to decode the files, but soon realized that would take far too long.
"The algorithm specified that it would take approximately 90 years to crack the code," Azoulay said.
The Crypto Locker Virus started showing up in September, disguised as PDF files so people will unknowingly open it.
Typically, it will display a timer stating that you have four days to pay the ransom, which it wants paid in Moneypak vouchers or Bitcoins. Moneypak and Bitcoins are forms of internet currency which are untraceable.
According to Azoulay, so is the virus itself.
"It basically took us on a wild goose chase. We went by the IP address to a server in Hong Kong, bounced off to a server in Nigeria," Azoulay said.
But the law firm didn't have the money to keep up the chase.
"We stopped four weeks into the project. It was just not cost effective for our client," Azoulay said.
Despite how frustrating it is, Azoulay said you should never give in to the ransom because there's no guarantee they will unlock the files. She was able to get her those files back for her clients.
"Luckily enough, there was a backup that we were able to do a little bit of forensic recovery and retrieve some of the files," Azoulay said.
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