15:43 Monday 30 December 2013

Warning over virus that holds people to ransom

Written byROB SMYTH

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COMPUTER uses in South Derbyshire are being warned about a new computer virus that is on the rise in the area.

Derbyshire Police have urged people to be on their guard over the ‘significant threat’ posed by CryptoLocker.

The virus locks personal files on a computer if downloaded, which can only be unlocked by the payment of a fee.

Several incidences have been reported in the district, with the force offering advice and tips to make sure people do not become victims.

A spokesman for the police said: “The virus, which is mainly spread through email attachments, encrypts personal files such as images and documents.

“After the virus has been downloaded, a pop up window launches on screen, typically given users three days to pay a set fee.”

The force has drawn up a series of top tips to ward off the virus.

They include:

lInstall anti-virus software and a firewall and set them to update automatically;

lDo not open email attachments from unknown sources;

lSet web browsers to the highest level of security;

lReview the security settings on the computer network;

lIf people don’t need write access, make files and folders ‘read only’; and

lMake regular backups of files and store them safely, with no communication with any computer.

Detective Constable Julie Wheeldon , from the East Midlands Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit, said: “Malicious software, such as CryptoLocker, can be destructive but thankfully there are simple steps that you can take to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

“Installing security software on your computer and ensuring that you discard any emails from unknown addresses without opening them are just some of the ways that you can prevent yourself against this type of fraud.”

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