Ransomware virus impersonates FBI, locks up computers - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Ransomware virus impersonates FBI, locks up computers

New Orleans, La- Hackers impersonating the FBI are locking up computers across New Orleans, stealing not only money, but also the victim's sense of security.

Many victims worry they're being watched. It's called the Money Pac Ransom Virus, and it's out-smarting most of the anti virus software out there.

It locks down your computer and broadcasts your picture.Hackers attack your computer with a pop up screen saying the FBI has locked your computer because you've engaged in illegal activity. 

 You supposedly must pay a fine, and your computer will stay locked until the money is received. Here's the catch: you can't use your own debit or credit card. These scammers want you to go out and buy a "Money Pac" debit card, load it with $300, then enter the card's information onto your computer.

Once you do, your computer is still locked, the hackers have your money and the trail is virtually untraceable, unlike your personal bank transactions.

Victims tell Fox 8 the scariest thing about this scam is how the virus switches on your computer's web cam, then broadcasts your image onto your screen, almost like a "Most Wanted" ad.

"It's a very well written virus. It's a program that's loaded on there that turns on your video camera. It's all about scaring you, that's all it is," says computer repair store owner Brian Branch, who has fixed more than 1000 computers infected with this virus. 

No one is really watching more than likely, but the scammers want you to think the FBI is on the other side, monitoring you.

To protect against this ransom virus, be careful what you open. It can attach to seemingly innocent things like Facebook pictures. Also update both your anti-virus software and your computer settings.

FBI spokeswoman Mary Beth Romig says the Feds will never send you an email alleging you're guilty of a crime and ask you to enter a payment.

If you're suspected of child pornography or the other federal crimes this scam mentions, the FBI will be knocking on your door.

If you get this virus, power your computer down immediately and bring it to a professional.

To learn more about the ransomware virus log on to the FBI's website at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams.


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