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Virus attacks computers at Greeland town hall

Officials in Greenland say eight years of data and documents were lost when Town Hall computers became infected with a virus known as CryptoLocker.

Town Administrator Karen Anderson told the Portsmouth Herald the computers became infected Dec. 26 when an employee inadvertently opened the virus, which was contained in an email attachment. The email purported to be from AT&T and said that the employee had received a voicemail.

CryptoLocker is a new type of malicious software that encrypts a user’s hard drive, effectively putting their photos, documents and other data under lock and key unless they pay a ransom within a certain amount of time.

Anderson said she did not learn of the virus until Monday, when the deadline for paying the ransom had already passed. The computer where the virus was initially downloaded has been taken offline, but not before the virus spread throughout the network.

She said the most important documents are all protected and hard copies are located in a safe. What she lost was a combination of collected data and requests for proposals, bids and other form letters she uses on a regular basis to conduct town business.

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