By Miranda Sumey
Over the past few weeks, a lot of media hype surrounding a nasty new type of malware called CryptoLocker has left many PC owners frantic.
CryptoLocker is the latest in ransomware, released in the fall of 2013. The virus is spread largely via email, where it’s disguised as a legitimate attachment (typically under the façade of a FedEx or UPS customer service notice). While it may look like a .pdf, it’s actually an .exe file that once installed on your PC, encrypts all of your files (pictures, movies, music, documents – almost everything of value to an average user) using RSA and AES. It then holds them ransom, asking anywhere from $100 to $300 for the private key necessary for decryption. The ransom must be paid within 96 hours, or else the key will be destroyed and your files are, for all intents and purposes, gone forever.