A particularly vicious new form of malware allows you to unlock your files by tricking two other people into downloading the malware.

It’s called ‘Popcorn Time.’  Once it gets on your PC, it locks your files and gives you only 7 days to pay the crooks around $800  or your files will be locked forever.

popcorn-encryption

The files will also be locked forever if you attempt to enter the encryption key that unlocks your files too many times.  This virus locks up everything from your library files including pictures, documents, and music. It also goes after many other types of file extensions.

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When you’re hit, the scammers offer you two ways to restore your files.  One is called the “fast and easy” way, which is to pay their ransom. Then they’ll give you a decryption key. (at least that’s what they say. There’s no reason to trust these people.)

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The “nasty way” is to send the link to other people. If two or more download the files and pay to unlock their files, they’ll unlock your files for free. It’s the nastiest referral program I’ve ever heard of.

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These crooks assure their victims that the money is going to pay for food and medicine to help Syrian refugees. I’m sure it will. I mean, why would these guys lie?

As always, have all of your files backed up externally or in the cloud. Be extremely careful what you click on. If you are infected, do not pay these creeps. And, for goodness sake, don’t be a creep and try to trick others into downloading this malware if you do find your files locked. Not only is it wrong, it’s a crime.  Get thee to a tech professional. They may be able to help.

~ Cynthia