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First Spyware, Then Malware, Now Ransomware?

First Spyware, Then Malware, Now Ransomware? - The Beacon


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By: Michael

First Spyware, Then Malware, Now Ransomware?

You have probably heard the terms spyware and malware, but what about ransomware? Reveton, a new form of ransomware, lures the victim to a website, where the ransomware is installed on the user’s computer. Once installed, the computer freezes and a screen is displayed warning the user they have violated United States Federal Law. The message further declares the user’s IP address was identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as visiting child pornography and other illegal content.

To unlock the computer, the user is instructed to pay a fine to the US Department of Justice, using prepaid money card services. The geographic location of the user’s IP address determines what payment services are offered. In addition to the ransomware, the Citadel malware continues to operate on the compromised computer and can be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud. This is an attempt to extort money with the additional possibility of the victim’s computer being used to participate in online bank fraud. If you have received this or something similar, do not follow payment instructions. Infected computers may not operate normally. If your computer is infected, you may need to contact a local computer expert for assistance to remove the ransomware.

In the past two weeks, several complainants have called FBI offices in Montana to report someone claiming to be an FBI employee has contacted them by phone or email. Several complainants say they were told their computers had been locked due to illegal online activity, and a one-time payment of $200 was required to unlock their computers. One complainant reported he was threatened with a higher fine if he did not comply. Some individuals report sending money. As long as people send money, expect the calls and emails to expand throughout the nation, eventually reaching the Tri-State area, if they haven’t done so all ready.

File complaints at

Learn more about other phone and email schemes, and protecting yourself by visiting the Tri-State BBB.

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Michael is our Business Information Specialist and will be writing at least one article per week for the consumer education blog. He works with accredited businesses to ensure we maintain current contact information and licensing. He is usually first to answer the phone; so odds are good you will be speaking with him when calling our office.