Internet users around the globe are being hit by a new kind of virus that freezes their computer and accuses them of committing heinous crimes. If you or someone you know has experienced the screen depicted in this article, the threat is real. But, it is not coming from the authorities.
This relatively new type of virus rachets up “Ramsomeware” to new levels. The message that flashes across the infected computer states “You have been viewing or distributing … [some crime meant to scare you] … violating [a local criminal code of your local country] and allegedly sent by a Country Level authority local to you, such as the FBI.
In each case, the accusation appears on a pop-up screen while the virus simultaneously disables the computer. The message often shows the user’s IP address and city, and sometimes, recent websites visited by the victim. A more recent version of this virus activates the victim’s webcam, takes his or her picture, and displays it on the warning.
This virus is so cleverly crafted that it comes with many versions. It displays in the appropriate language for victims — English, Spanish, Russian, etc. — and invokes the local federal authorities.
The message is fake, and even if you do pay the “fine” your computer will still be broken.
The technique called ransomware is a virus that disables the computer, allegedly holding it hostage until a ransom is paid. This type of virus is not new. However, this hoax introduces new ploys designed to catch you off guard so that you will pay the “fine”.
Most victims pick up the virus by visiting booby-trapped web pages through “drive-by” download, or by downloading free software from disreputable sites.
What should you do to protect yourself? Make sure that your anti-virus program and critical software on your computer is up-to-date.
If you think or know you have a ransomeware virus. Do not continue to use your computer for any purpose where you are entering information that is sensitive to your privacy. You try to use various tools at anti-virus provider websites such as AVG, TrendNet, Symantec etc.. If you are unable to solve this problem on your own, call us at MegaByte Systems for assistance (570) 296-5979.
(you can read more details about this virus at “The Redtape Chronicles“.)