PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Ransomware extortionists have no feelings for their victims, just passion for getting money from their computers.

“What it does is it basically comes in and encrypts all your files,” said CBS Pittsburgh IT Director John Yurkovich. In other words, it makes it impossible for you to see any of your files.

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It happened to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, and they were forced to shut down for several days, issuing this statement:

“The Western PA Humane Society received a virus in its server earlier this month. We were able to restore our entire server. No personal or secure information was lost in the process and the care of our animals was never impacted.”

The attackers demand a ransom for victims to regain access to their files. The humane society didn’t pay it, but the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California did, and so have many others.

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Once the ransomware gets in, which it has at KDKA twice, you get a notice on your computer that your files have been encrypted and you have to pay to get the decoding software.

If your system is properly backed up, as KDKA’s is, there is no need to pay the money. Put your machine back to factory default and then from there you can start restoring your data from your backup devise.

If you do have to pay the ransom, it is risky, and you might not get your files back.

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Experts say to keep all your protection software up to date, don’t open any attachments from unknown sources, and always remmeber to back up your files.