Computer users beware! A new virus is infecting systems and your wallet.
The virus blocks your computer and asks for your money to restore it. It's called ransomware.
Recently the New Love In Christ Church in Lower Paxton Township fell victim to this virus. A strange message showed up on the church computer while the pastor's son was using it.
"When he had completed his work and was shutting the internet browser down, a pop-up came on the screen indicating you're being investigated by the Department of Justice," said Pastor Ross Reider.
The church was in trouble, but not with the government. This message is really a virus. It locks your computer and won't unlock unless you pay up.
"I've been in this business for quite a while, and it's one of the more severe cases of ransomware that I've ever seen," said Josh Nelson, President of My Computer Doctor in Harrisburg.
Technology has come a long way in the church. It's a big part of the services. "We use it to project the bible verses, the sermon notes, all the songs, the lyrics," said Pastor Reider. "So we're heavily dependent on being able to project the technology for Sunday mornings."
Fortunately the church called in Nelson, who was able to salvage the system. Others may not be so lucky.
Once the virus is on your computer, it's tough to get it off on your own. Simply turning it off doesn't work. Antivirus software won't stop it either!
"Malware and ransomware happen strictly through the internet," said Nelson, "I've yet to find an antivirus application that will catch this while it's happening."
That's why you have to be careful about links you're not familiar with; one wrong click can make you the next victim.
Nelson says most of these viruses originate overseas, making it difficult to track down the people behind them.
He also says this is a growing problem: 5 to 10 percent of his clients have received this virus in the past two months.