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Better Business Bureau ®
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Albany, Buffalo, Rochester & Syracuse regions
BBB Warning: Ransomware Computer Virus is Back
June 24, 2014

Buffalo, NY--Security experts are again seeing an influx of another form of ransomware, called Cryptowall. In late 2013, Better Business Bureau has warned consumers about ransomware in the past.  Ransomware is a computer virus that sends apop-up message to a person’s computer, claiming to be from the FBI and threatening them with a fine or prison unless they pay up. The virus, meanwhile, locks up the computer, holding it - and you - hostage, thus its name, "ransomware."

This is what the Cryptowall page looks like: 

“BBB works with law enforcement and other agencies to protect consumers against computer viruses and cyber-issues,” said Warren Clark, President of BBB serving Upstate New York. “Consumers should make sure their anti-virus software is up to date, and if it does happen to them, to take their computer to an expert or firm - one that's been checked out first at bbb.org - to restore functionality and remove any lurking malware.” 

Computer users pick up this virus by clicking on malicious links in emails, from messages sent through social media sites, or by visiting compromised websites. The FBI office in Buffalo says that consumers should know that U.S. Government agencies NEVER contact an individual or a business online and demand payment for the return of operational control of your computer or information.

The following tips can help consumers protect their computers:

Make sure updates are installed. Your computer should have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.

Don’t click! Avoid questionable websites. If you are in doubt, do not click on a website or any suspicious links. Spammers use this tactic to try to infect your computer with malware.

Be careful on social networks. Social networks are used to transmit and spread this virus and others like it.

It's also always a good idea to keep your files backed up. If your computer becomes infected by ransomware, you should contact a computer expert or repair firm immediately and file a complaint with the FBI at ic3.gov.

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