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When Files Are Held for Ransom


A small business owner arrived at his desk one morning to find a strange message on his computer screen: “Your files are locked. To get the key to decrypt them, you must pay $500 USD.” The message also said that if the money wasn’t paid within a week, the price would double. The business owner tried to access his files, but every one of them was locked up and inaccessible. He called a computer security expert, who informed him that he had become the victim of “ransomware.” The malware could be removed from the computer, although this would be very expensive and time consuming. Plus, the files would still be lost forever if the ransom wasn’t paid. The business was inoperable while the problem was ongoing, and the owner could not recover the files. Ultimately, he ended up paying the ransom using a form of Internet currency and buying a new computer.

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First Commonwealth Bank and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.