DENVER (CBS4) – It’s being a called a case of high-tech extortion. The WannaCry ransomware has infected computers in the U.S. and across the globe.
The hackers demand money to let computer users back into their computer files. It’s impacted more than 300,000 machines in 150 countries.
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger found a cyber-security company in Denver called Red Canary that monitors clients’ computer operations to try to prevent them from being hit with devastating bugs.
The WannaCry ransomware demands hundreds of dollars to free up a computer.
“By the time you get here the attacker has already encrypted all your files,” said Chris Rothe, CEO of Red Canary.
A clock demonically counts down the time until files can no longer be restored.
Rothe says those who get the ransomware have a couple of choices.
“One is to pay the ransom and hope that the attacker is actually going to give you the encryption key to get your data back, or just deal with the fact that data is gone,” he said.
The bug is believed to be spread in part by email.
“We have a small number of affected parties in the U.S. including FedEx,” said Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.
Those who are affected are advised to call law enforcement if don’t pay the ransom as they might not get their files back anyway.