WSOC reports that the offices of Charlotte, N.C.-based lawyer Paul Goodson recently lost access to thousands of stored legal documents when the CryptoLocker ransomware, delivered as an e-mail attachment, encrypted them permanently (h/t Computerworld UK).

"It was actually an e-mail that looked like it was coming from our phone system because our system sends voice mail messages as an attachment," Goodson said.

Goodson tried to pay the $300 ransom to decrypt the files, but it was too late -- the ransomware requires payment within three days of infection. "The virus also warned if you tried to tamper or decrypt anything, it was going to be permanently locked and you could never open it," Goodson said.

In a similar incident last fall with different results, Massachusetts' Swansea Police Department paid more than $1,000 to decrypt images and Word documents following a CryptoLocker infection.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.