FBI warning of virus that cripples computers

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 15 at 9:05 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A virus showing up on computer screens as a warning from the federal government is making the rounds around the web. But officials warn it’s a scam.

The scam shows pop-ups on a screen as a warning from the government and claims the user broke the law and viewed child pornography or some other illegal sites. It also warns that the computer is now flagged by the FBI. The pop-up message won’t go away. Control, alt, delete won’t do the trick.

The bogus message states that you have to pay a fine to unlock your computer - usually around $200. This type of virus has been dubbed “ransomware.”

Typically, these viruses end up on your computer because you opened a scammer’s file or attachment. Not this one. The Internet Crime Complaint Center describes this as a “drive-by” virus; it installs itself after you visit a compromised site.

We heard of this problem earlier this year. The Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a warning about this problem.

Since then, the feds say the virus has become more widespread.

John Russell, a Clayton Computer service technician says he started seeing problems with this particular virus in the last week.

“This is just sort of a run-of-the-mill virus that we’ve seen. This particular one is unique because it uses the FBI logo and turns on your web cam,” said Russell.

He’s able to remove the virus and save customers’ data. Any saved photos or files usually aren’t compromised.

The FBI recommends contacting a professional to remove the virus. Microsoft also offers tips on removing malware at this website.

You can report the scam here.

And, whatever you do... don’t pay the “fine”.

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