The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned Internet users about the Reveton ransomware, a malware that requires payment from affected victims to unlock their computers.
According to the FBI, Reveton is a “drive-by” virus because of its ability to start and set up itself when users drop by an infected site. The alarming part is that it does not need to install an attachment unlike most viruses.
After Reveton infects a victim’s PC, it locks the computer and says the user violates US federal law.
The FBI said, “The bogus message goes on to say that the user’s Internet address was identified by the FBI or the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section as having been associated with child pornography sites or other illegal online activity. To unlock their machines, users are required to pay a fine using a prepaid money card service.”
The Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) has revealed that it gets flooded with user complaints on the computer virus. Donna Gregory, who heads the IC3 team of cybercrime experts, said that several individuals “have actually paid the so-called fine” to regain access to their PCs.
In May this year, the FBI released the warning against Reveton, and it has since hounded its development and the culprit/s behind the virus.
IC3 received one complaint letter from a victim who wrote about getting a popup message while surfing online and eventually gave up on looking for a fix, saying that there’s “no way to close it”.
The anonymous victim explained, “The window was labeled FBI and said I was in violation of one of the following: illegal use of downloaded media, under-age porn viewing, or computer-use negligence. It listed fines and penalties for each and directed me to pay $200 via a MoneyPak order. The page said if the demands were not met, criminal charges would be filed and my computer would remain locked on that screen.”
The IC3 now notifies all online users that if ever they fall victims to the Reveton ransomware, they must not pay any amount nor provide any personal info. Victims must immediately look for a professional who is capable of safely removing the computer malware.
“Be aware that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer on your own, the malware may still operate in the background,” warned the IC3. “File a complaint and look for updates about the Reveton virus on the IC3 website.”
Image: cliff1066™ via Flickr (CC)