PHOENIX -- Computer hackers are becoming a real threat. And experts say they're becoming more aggressive and sophisticated.
The latest scheme involves hackers trying to force convince you to pay up or lose everything. It's called Cryptolocker, and it tricks people into clicking on a link that pops up on their computer.
"All they have to do is get in, lock everything up and you're going to pay between $300 and $2,500 to get your information back," says Ken Colburn of Data Doctors.
He says you're unable to access any of your computer files. "Pictures documents spread sheets, stuff that they know is really important to all of us, and they go and basically scramble it with a special key."
Colburn says tons of consumers continue to be affected by the virus. And he says businesses in particular should be cautious. "Any one employee that clicks on the wrong thing can basically cause the entire company's information to become locked up and cryptic."
One of the most common tricks to infect comes to you as an e-mail attachment that appears as a PDF file from well-known companies such as FedEx, UPS or others. Once you open the file, the chaos ensues.
"Even with a backup, if it is set up improperly, this virus can get in there, encrypt everything and basically hold you hostage," he tells us.
Colburn says he's never seen such a potent virus. "Without question, this is one of the most dangerous viruses we've seen since in the 25 years we've been doing this."
Colburn says the best way to protect yourself is to be extra cautious of any email, link, or download you open or click on. Also, Data Doctors has created a free download to help you protect yourself.
Free download with tips on protecting your business from Cryptolocker: http://biztech.datadoctorsmeansbusiness.com/cryptolocker/
Full article on the Cryptolocker attacking businesses: http://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21960-Protecting-Your-Business-From-CryptoLocker