There is a new form of “ransomware” that’s began infecting computers running Microsoft Windows: CryptoLocker, a trojan-horse style infection of the entire system that disguises itself as an email attachment.

After the attachment is opened, it encrypts certain file types, storing a private key solely on the malware’s control servers. After the theft of user’s most sentimental files such as photo albums, mp3s, and personal emails, it locks users out of their own files until they agree to pay a ransom fee of $300 within the time period of 72 hours.

As of yesterday, there’s a newer version of this malware that allows the victims more time to recover  files… for about $1,600 above the original fee. Many of these emails present themselves as customer support messages from reputable companies or organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, FedEx or UPS, but due to the malware’s novelty, your best bet is to  back up your files on a regular basis and be careful about what attachments you’re opening. Duh. (Image: YouTube)