Cincinnati FBI warns virus scam targets area residents
Oct 04, 2012 (Dayton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Cincinnati office of the FBI issued a warning Thursday about a computer virus being used to extort money from area residents.
The virus is "ransomware" known as Reveton that installs itself when an Internet user visits a compromised website, according to the FBI. Once infected, the computer locks and displays a message claiming that the FBI or Department of Justice has identified the computer as being involved in illegal activity, such as visiting child pornography.
The user is instructed to send a prepaid money card in order to have the machine unlocked or face criminal prosecution, the FBI said.
FBI officials stressed that the bureau does not collect fines or send messages seeking money.
The Cincinnati office has been receiving 15 to 20 calls a day over the past two weeks from area victims of this computer virus, said spokesman Todd Lindgren.
"Most of them have been concerned whether this is a scam or not, and how to remove the virus from their computer so that they can continue to use it," Lindgren said.
FBI officials said people who believe their computers may be infected with this virus should not pay any money or provide any personal information.
Instead, users should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
IC3, a partnership among the FBI, National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, bundles cybercrime complaints by region or user type and refers cases to law enforcement agencies, Lindgren said.
Users also should contact a computer professional to remove the malware and virus from their computer.
Even if users are able to unlock their computer on their own, "there is concern that the malware is still operating in the background," Lindgren said. 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.
Reveton ransomware typically is delivered by Citadel Trojan malware, officials said. Citadel is an all-purpose "crimeware" kit designed for financial fraud that debuted in December 2011 on Russian underground hacking websites, according to Information Week, an information technology trade publication.
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