CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A new form of malware is making the rounds. It is striking computers in and around Charlotte.
It is called "Locky" and this strain scrambles, encrypts and re-names all of your important files. You'll know you have it if suddenly your file names end in ".locky".
The cybercriminals will tell you that THE ONLY WAY to get your files back is to purchase the decryption key via the dark web and pay roughly $200-$500 in bitcoin which is a digital, untraceable currency.
We asked WBTV Cyber Expert, and CEO of Fortalice Solutions, Theresa Payton how we can protect ourselves. Her advice follows:
HOW TO AVOID GETTING LOCKY:
1. be on the lookout for strange attachments - don't open them.
2. If you receive an email, even from someone that you know, with this attachment: (Troj/DocDl-BCF) - delete this from your account & your trash.
Do not open it.
3. If you open any document and the contents look like something strange and not a document, you might be infected
4. Disable macros from automatically running on your Office products
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
1. Back up data regularly
2. Disable macros from running
3. Trust but verify before you open attachments
4. Install antimalware and antivirus software
5. Keep your browsers and all software up to date with latest versions and security patches