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Ransomware Virus Targets Local Firm

By Staff | Dec 20, 2016

The recent trend of computer scams and incidents of computer ransomware have arrived locally. The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office is reporting an incident of a computer ransomware at a local business.

According to Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes, a local Emmetsburg area business notified the sheriff’s office on Friday, December 16, that a computer virus had infected the businesses’ computer system. The virus came in a spam e-mail.

” The virus is known as the Locky Ransomware virus and is distributed via spam email containing infected attachments or links to a malicious website,” Sheriff Schultes explained.

According to information from CNet, the Locky Ransomware targets all versions of the Windows operating system, including Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. versions.

According to Sheriff Schultes, in the local case, the spam email appeared as an invoice from a company that the local business had done business with in the past.

“Once the email was opened, the virus encrypted all the user files converting them to an .osiris extension, and they can no longer be opened,” Schultes said. “The cyber criminals then contacted the business and offered to unlock the encrypted files for an exorbitant fee.”

Schultes noted that in the local incident, the business was fortunate enough to have all their original computer files saved on a backup server, allowing the information to be restored. However, the business will incur the expenses associated with having to replace the infected/encrypted hard drives replaced in their computer system.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office strongly encourages every computer user to be extra cautious in opening emails that seem odd or unusual to you to avoid malicious e-mail virus and malware.