A new virus seizes all your documents and won't release them until you pay up!!  WTF?

I guess it was only a matter of time until someone came up with "cyber kidnapping".  It's bad enough getting a virus that locks up your computer, mass emails all your contacts, melts your hard drive, etc.  Now ... adding insult to injury ... this virus makes you pay it to go away!

Cryptolocker sneaks into your system disguised as an email from a legit source.  (One guy loaded it because it looked like a postal invoice for his business.)  Once it's in, it encrypts all your files, photos, everything, so you can no longer read or view them. The encryption it uses is military grade and pretty much unbreakable.

Once infected, a payment order appears and the clock starts ticking.  (See the warning here.) At the end of the 72 hour countdown, if you haven't paid up, the key to your encryption is destroyed and no one, no where, no way can ever unlock them.

Not even the NSA.  They're gone.

WTF can you do to protect yourself?

Not much other than avoiding it in the first place. Watch for suspicious or unknown emails, always use good anti virus software, etc.  Your best defense?

Back up, Back up, BACK UP!!  

And use an external backup so the virus never gets near the saved files! If this WTF-ing thing does get in your system, at least you'll be able to restore everything.

Without giving up $300 bills!