Lynchburg, VA - For much of Wednesday, our IT team here at WSET was dealing with a vicious new virus, one that we've told you about before.
The CryptoLocker virus attacked our network, as it does so many others, every day, worldwide. We want to make sure you're not the next victim.
Thousands of PCs every day are attacked by viruses big and small. They seemingly creep onto your computer, without you even knowing, and within hours, you're left locked out of all your personal files.
The experts are sharing their secrets on how they beat the bad guys.
Tammy Pollard is teaching the next generation of IT specialists and computer experts. Inside her Miller Motte Technical College classroom, her lessons attempt to predict the future.
"We try to make changes to the curriculum to keep up with the times because there are things you don't have to teach anymore" she said.
Pollard teaches her students how to prevent a virus from attacking a computer network. In the 25 years that she's been working in this industry, she says viruses have grown and adapted to become more malicious than ever.
Seven different categories with hundreds of virus variations make them more common than we may think.
"Every time there's a new Microsoft or another operating system there are holes in it that these security patches need to be put in place to fix" she said.
Take for instance the new and undetectable, CryptoLocker virus. Open it up and the hacker will hold all of your files until you pay up. This falls under the ransomware category, a type of virus that holds your computer hostage until you pay the hackers, a ransom.
"If you're in this line of business, it's a constant stream of education" said Lonnie Rose.
Rose owns a computer networking firm that works daily to salvage software ravaged by viruses. He says like any other industry, viruses are changing with the times.
"The viruses are getting more sophisticated, much, much more sophisticated as time goes on and people are just as gullible as we've always been" said Rose.
Something that guarantees Pollard will have students to teach for a long time.
"They want to learn how to do this and they find it interesting, and they don't want to be held hostage" she said.
These viruses are not exclusive to business computers. They're known to attack your PC at home.
Some things to keep in mind: make sure your anti-virus software is always running and up to date. Also, never open emails or download files that are foreign to you... both have been known to conceal viruses. And be sure to back up all of your files.