CryptoLocker Virus strikes Pratt Police Department

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Pratt, Kan. -- Police in Pratt forced to shut down their computers for nearly a week because of a virus that has infected hundreds of thousands of PC's across the country.

The CryptoLocker virus a fairly new virus we first told you about last month. Once on your computer, the virus holds all your files hostage and then it demands you pay a ransom or lose those files forever.

Luckily Pratt police had their files backed up but the virus made police officers' jobs a lot more difficult.

Background searches, looking up cases, and filing new reports are all things Pratt police officers couldn't do for nearly a week.

"There's just no access to anything we didn't have on paper,” Lt. James Shelden with the Pratt Police Department said.

That's because the police department was hit by the CryptoLocker virus last Wednesday. As soon as they knew they were hacked, Lt. Shelden says everyone was told to shut down their computers and log off all servers.

While computer techs cleared out the virus, officers spent the next few days handwriting reports.

“I haven't done reports all by hand since I started here and I started in 2001,” Lt. Shelden said.

Since emergency dispatchers couldn't use their computers either, running drivers license numbers during traffic stops took a lot longer than usual.

"It was a delayed response because they'd have to contact another agency and have them run the information and get back to us,” Lt. Shelden said.

As of Monday afternoon, the Pratt Police Department was back online and virus free.

Police in Pratt warn other computer owners to take notice, the CryptoLocker Virus can strike anyone at anytime.

Police say their system was completely backed up so they didn't lose any files and nothing was permanently damaged. That's why computer experts say the best way to protect yourself from the CryptoLocker Virus is to make sure your computer system is backed up and be careful about what emails and files you open.

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