The FBI is warning computer users of an Internet scam that freezes computers immediately.
Computers are affected by the new “drive-by” virus when users click on a compromised website, according to the FBI.
The scam is described as a drive-by malware, a.k.a. the Reveton ransomware. Once infected, the computer immediately locks, and the monitor displays a screen stating there has been a violation of federal law, according to a news release from the FBI.
An Internet user receives a bogus message that appears to be from the FBI or the Department of Justice. The message says officials identified the person as having been associated with child pornography sites or other illegal online activity, the FBI said. To unlock the computer, users are asked to make a payment using a prepaid card.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is being inundated with complaints about the scam, according to Donna Gregory of the complaint center.
“Some people have actually paid the so-called fine,” Gregory said in a news release.
The virus does not have an easy fix, she said.
“Unlike other viruses,” she said, “Reveton freezes your computer and stops it in its tracks. And the average user will not be able to easily remove the malware.”
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) offers the following tips for anyone who may become a victim of the Reveton virus:
- Do not pay any money or provide any personal information.
- Contact a computer professional to remove Reveton and Citadel from your computer.
- Be aware that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer on your own, the malware may still operate in the background. Certain types of malware have been known to capture personal information such as user names, passwords, and credit card numbers through embedded keystroke logging programs.
- File a complaint and look for updates about the Reveton virus on the IC3 website.