CHICAGO (CBS) — The FBI has issued warning about a growing type of malicious Internet software that could take your computer hostage, along with all the data stored on it.

It’s called “ransomware,” and like the name states, those responsible for it demand a ransom if the data on your computer is hijacked, by being encrypted after you click on a link you shouldn’t have in your email or on a website containing such malware.

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“After the encryption’s all done, there’ll be a message up on your screen that says your data is no longer available, if you want it, send ‘x’ amount of money, or ‘x’ amount of bitcoins to a specific account, and then they will give you the password to unencrypt your data,” said Jerry Irvine, chief information officer for Prescient Solutions, a Chicago-based IT firm.

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He said sometimes victims of ransomware get their data back after paying the ransom, but sometimes not.

Bottom line, don’t click on links if you don’t know for absolute certain where it came from, or where it will take you.

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