So I was going to write a post about Tesla's big beat after the market yesterday and how the stock is off to the races today, but I came across a computer virus yesterday that was so nasty I wanted to make you guys aware of it so you don't get victimized.
I do a bit of IT consulting on the side for C-level guys who are technophobic. I was scheduled to do a training with one such CEO yesterday, when he asked me if I'd ever heard of CryptoLocker and was it some kind of service. In fact I had heard of CryptoLocker recently on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, and the fact that this CEO was asking me about it could only mean one thing: he was infected. Sure enough, he said a timer had popped up on his desktop, his files had been stolen, and he had 72 hours to pay $400 through Bitcoin to get his files back or they'd be deleted forever.
Unfortunately, this thing is for real. It comes disguised as an email from UPS or FedEx with tracking information in PDF format attached, only it ain't a PDF. It's a double-extension executable file that installs itself on your hard drive, steals and encrypts all your files, and then demands a ransom for you to recover them. Because the ransom is paid with Bitcoin, it's impossible to track where the money is going. Up to now, the hackers have been true to their word and have returned the files once the ransom has been paid.