Internet virus impersonates FBI, asks for money - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Internet virus impersonates FBI, asks for money

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ATLANTA -

A virus is locking down computers and demanding hundreds of dollars while accusing the victims of internet crimes. The message says it is from the FBI. Some people are paying the ransom to have their computers unlocked.

It happened to Tish Pack's computer at their home in Monroe. A screen popped up, announcing it was from the FBI and accusing the family of illegal computer activity. It also turned on their web cam.

"That was creepy and a little unsettling and he actually put tape over the camera," said Pack.

The virus is called the Reveton Ransomware. Ransom because the crooks that locked down Tish Pack's computer wanted $200 in prepaid money cards to unlock it. They said it was a fine.

"I worry about people because you hear about scams all the time. I think of older people...who trust everybody in the world and they just go with it,"said Pack.

"We are trying to get the information out that the FBI just doesn't do business this way," said FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett.

The FBI is on the case and not happy that agency's name is being used that way.

"You're not going to get a message popping up on your computer telling you that illegal activity is being discovered on your computer and to pay us a fine. We do not operate that way," said Emmett.
 
The FBI says the fix for victim's computers is complex. They suggest doing what Tish Pack did: take the computer to an expert.

"Don't send them any money, don't give them any credit card number and do not give them your credit card number," said Lee Faile of Cyber Buddy in Conyers.
 
Faile says he has repaired eight computers with the ransomware in just the last few weeks. He said that up-to-date anti-virus software can help.

The longer Reveton stays on your computer, the more damage the virus does, Faile said.  And even if you unfreeze the computer, the FBI says the malware still lingers in the background, gathering personal information, such as passwords and credit card information.

Tish and her husband did everything right. They immediately turned the computer off.

"You are going to be less likely to lose data. And it's going to be easier for your technician to clean it up," said Faile.

So remember, turn off your computer immediately and take it to an expert. Finally, don't give them any money. Take away the profit, and this virus goes away.

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