A new “drive-by” virus is making its way across the internet that disguises itself as a fake message, and fine, purportedly from the FBI.
Users get the virus by opening a file or attachment with malware. It works by installing itself when users visit a compromised website or download a corrupt file. Once infected, the victim’s computer immediately locks, and the monitor displays a screen, that you are unable to leave, stating that here has been a violation of federal law.
The fake message goes on to say the user’s IP address was identified by the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section as having been associated with child pornography or the download of Illegal files. To unlock the computer, users are require to pay a $200 fine using a prepaid money card service.
The Reveton virus, used by hackers along with Citadel malware, a software delivery platform that can mimic other kinds of computer viruses, first came to the attention of the FBI in 2011. Since that time, the virus has become more widespread in, not only the United States, but internationally as well. Some variants of the virus have even started to effect computer webcams by displaying the victim’s picture on a frozen screen.
Authorities say they are receiving hundreds of complaints every day due to the fact there is no easy way to fix the computer once it becomes infected. The malware freezes the computer and doesn’t allow the user to access anything else until the supposed fine is paid.
A user’s best bet is to run the computer on “safe mode” and tried to use an anti-virus program to catch the virus and remove it from the computer. Be aware, however , that even if you manage to unfreeze your computer, the malware may still operate in the background. The malware may be able to capture personal information such as user names, passwords, or even credit card numbers. The best option may be to let a professional remove the virus.