FBI Warns of "Ransomware" that Extorts Money

The FBI is warning about a new email-based internet threat called "ransomware". It works by getting you to click on a link (for example, in an email or on another site) with some urgent message. Unlike "phishing scams", you don't need to input any information to get the virus. Just by clicking on the link, the site locks up your computer and demands a payment to unlock it.

Drive-By Virus

This type of malware is known as a "drive-by" virus, because you only have to visit the website to be infected. It does not require you to click on a link. It apparently works in conjunction with "Citadel' malware.

The current incarnation of the virus locks up your computer and displays a web page allegedly from the FBI, saying that you've been caught illegally downloading copyrighted or other material and that you need to pay a fine to unlock your computer or you'll be charged with a crime.

What to Do

The FBI suggests that you take some steps if you're infected (e.g., your computer gets locked up), including:

  • Do NOT pay any money or provide personal info.
  • Have a computer professional remove Reveton and Citadel from your computer.
  • Be aware that the malware may still be on your computer even if you simply get it unlocked.
  • File a complaint and track Reveton virus updates.