Hackers target Swansea police for ransom

PCTroubleshooters in Warwick has been around for nearly 20 years.

The companyhelps with the simplest of information technology problems to more advancedissues like removing malware.

Recently,CryptoLocker has been one of the most vexing.

"CryptoLockerhas been infecting a wide variety of computers," said Eric Shorr of PC Troubleshooters.

Shorr saidshe's already at least one client targeted.

"We restored(the system) from backup so we didn't have to pay the ransom. We cleaned outthe files," he said.

Shorr saidhe's not shocked the Swansea Police Department was another target.

The malwareis designed to infiltrate your computer through an email impersonating amessage from shipping companies like FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.

When someoneclicks on the attachment, the malware encrypts your files and a ransom note asksfor payment in Bitcoins.

Aftercontacting the FBI, Swansea police decided to pay the ransom.

But youcan't just go to an ATM or bank. Instead you have to set up a Bitcoin account,an online currency that's difficult to trace.

Swanseapolice say they got all of their files back after paying the ransom.

"First ofall, it's not easy to get started with Bitcoin. It can be a problem just to getBitcoins to pay the ransom, which I don't recommend you actually do," Shorrsaid.

Shorrsuggested users take action as soon as they realize they get a fake email.

"If you doclick on it, turn it off. That will stop the spread of the malware on yourcomputer. And then bring it to an IT services company to help you clean it up,"he said.

"Can youreally trust someone who wrote a document to encrypt all of your documents, allof your data, everything, and not expect them to come back for more? So it'smuch too big a risk to even attempt to pay them."