WILTSHIRE Police, and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureauare warning of a large-scale computer blackmail virus that could affect people in the county.

Computer users are being tricked into installing Cryptolocker malware on their machines which encrypts their files and then destroys them if they don’t pay a release fee in time.

The cyber criminals who created the ransomware originally targeted businesses but are now focussing on home internet users who have a Windows system on their computers.

“Things like music, photos and important documents all become blocked and, unless the malware is removed, that person may never have access to any of their personal data again,” said Det Sgt Jon Lee, head of complex fraud.

“Simple tips like ensuring that you don’t click on unsolicited email attachments, backing up your files and storing them offline, and updating your anti-virus software will all help to eliminate the chances of your computer being targeted.

“It’s also really important that you don’t send any payment to these people. This only fuels the problem and there is no guarantee that the criminals would unlock your access to the data anyway.”

He added:“We work closely with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, Action Fraud and the National Crime Agency to ensure that we are exchanging information to identify and bring those responsible to justice.”

Computer fraud victims can contact Action Fraud via actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.