Computer Virus Hits Heartland, Makes Users Pay

A computer virus is targeting homes and businesses in Lincoln and tech experts warn it may spread.

The bug gets into computer systems and encrypts files it thinks are important, making them inaccessible to users. Users can't get those files back until they pay $300 to the hackers within 72 hours.

Thor Schrock with Schock Innovations says the worst thing we can do is pay the ransom because it supports the hackers' business models and we may be targeted again.

"Your computer got infected because it wasn't protected properly. If you pay the ransom, they don't discriminate," Schrock says. "If they can come back tomorrow and infect your computer again, they'll do it."

Experts say the best way to avoid getting the virus is to avoid opening emails from people we don't know. If our computers do get infected, the best thing we can do is turn them off and not reboot them. Files that haven't already been affected can be saved by computer professionals.