Oklahoma Computer Experts Warn Of New Malware Scam

Thursday, May 15th 2014, 7:32 pm
By: News 9

A computer scam is targeting users and it has already affected people in the metro. It's called Cryptowall, a malware program that infects computers, then forces victims to pay money to recover the files affected.

Computer technicians say this is not a totally new concept, but it is a difficult one to deal with. One victim told News 9 he was on the Oklahoman's website when the "pop-up" showed on his computer.

"It wouldn't let me get into any file, um, all of my files were pretty much just locked up," said Tom Pastrano.

On the website, the Oklahoman's publisher said, "We quickly responded, isolated and removed the immediate threat."

Pastrano took a picture of the computer screen after the Cryptowall took over his computer. It explained that the hacker used the malware to encrypt files, which is the "same thing as losing them forever."

The message also warned users "do not waste valuable time searching for solutions because they do not exist."

Paul Yoong, a computer Technician at "The 3 Geeks" in Edmond, says this is not a totally new concept.

"Those are called ransom ware. What they do is actually do encrypt it and the key is stored somewhere else, not on your local computer, so it's impossible to get your files back unless you actually pay them," Yoong explained.

Yoong suggests if your computer becomes infected, shut it off right away. Unfortunately the Cryptowall is a hard fix, so proactive steps are the most important.

"Anti-virus is not just enough," said Yoong. "Keep your computer up to date, run proper anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware programs."

Pastrano hopes people will listen, because he found out just how tough dealing with the Cryptowall is.

"I'm pretty much just going to put the computer to rest and buy a new computer."

According to the post on the Oklahoman's website, anyone using a Mac product or Mozilla Firefox and google chrome browsers did not get infected, only PC users with Internet Explorer.