NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A hot new scam is sweeping the Internet. It locks up your computer and demands $200 to fix the problem. The virus has left some Web surfers feeling tentative about using their computers.
“I’m still not 100 percent sure that it’s completely cleared,” Kathy Neary, a recent virus victim, told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois.
The virus comes in the form of an official looking screen, complete with an FBI logo that tells its victims that their computer has been “locked due to a violation of federal laws.”
The scammer offers victims the option of paying a $200 fine or being arrested. They are told they have 72 hours to pay.
The FBI has been made aware of the virus, and said it has received thousands of complaints from Internet users around the world. They added that they will never insist that a web-surfer pay a fine to have their computer unlocked.
The virus does lock your computer and restarting or shutting it down will not get rid of the screen. Scammers are using a program called Reveton Ransomware, in connection with other types of malware.
Experts told CBS 2 that trying to fix the problem yourself may lead to further issues.
“If you restart it and play with it, chances are you’re going to receive additional infections which makes it even harder to disinfect,” said Steve Utke of Surge Computers.
What makes this scam even more frightening is that it is a drive-by virus, it can be picked up by simply surfing the web.
“The anti-virus program that you have should have browser protection. If it doesn’t you should probably change to one that does have browser protection,” Utke said.
Norton Anti-Virus suggested running multiple scans to be sure the virus had been cleared. Experts emphasized that virus victims should not try to clear the virus on their own and that it would cost less than $100 to have it fixed professionally.
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