The U.S. Department of Justice is sounding the alarm on two widespread viruses. The first, CryptoLocker, you've heard me talk about before.
Last year, I warned you about this virus that holds your computer files for ransom and explained how to protect yourself. Unfortunately, it is still spreading, with 1 in 30 computers getting the virus and up to 40 percent of people who get it paying the thieves to get their files back.
In fact, even the police in Swansea, Massachusetts, paid $750. How secure does that make you feel?
The second virus that works closely with CryptoLocker is called Gameover Zeus. It's a version of the Zeus botnet, which is designed to infect your computer, steal your bank account information and clean out your money.
How dangerous is Gameover Zeus? So far, it has stolen an estimated $100 million from companies - including banks - and individuals and funneled it to Russian and Eastern European hackers.
Unlike the regular Zeus botnet, which hackers control with a few servers that governments can shut down, Gameover Zeus is decentralized. That means law enforcement can take down part of it, like the Ukrainian government did back in May, but it won't hurt the tens or hundreds of thousands of other computers running it.
Obviously, you need to be running security software to guard the easiest paths these viruses have to get on your computer. Click here to download free security software if you don't have any.
CryptoLocker and Gameover Zeus mainly spread through phishing scams, such as fake email or websites. That lets them bypass your security in many cases. Learn how to spot fake email so you aren't fooled.
You should also beware of watering hole attacks like this one. They can easily load a virus on your system if you visit the wrong website.
If you get CryptoLocker, there isn't much you can do to recover your files aside from paying. Be sure you're backing up your data so you can easily wipe your system and start over.
If you find and remove Gameover Zeus, you'll immediately want to change your banking account password. Click here for steps to create a new, secure password.