The CryptoLocker ransomware virus held the Swansea, MA, Police Department for ransom and they had to pay to get their computers back.
Swansea police confirmed they paid $750 to hackers through an untraceable online currency.
CryptoLocker and infects a computer system when a malicious email attachment ends up opened. The virus encrypts files on the computer and unless you pay for the decryption key, the files end up lost forever. Catching the hackers is extremely difficult for law enforcement.
“This virus, or any virus, does not discriminate against any person or organization at all,” said Tan Nguyen, an integrator for Alfa Computer in nearby Woburn. “When they encrypt data like that people are really held hostage.”
The FBI’s Cyber Crimes division is investigating cases like this and asks victims to report similar attacks at www.ic3.gov. They advise against paying any ransoms and say you should consult a computer expert for help recovering lost data.