It's a hot new scam: a virus circling the globe that locks up computers and then asks for $200 to fix the problem.
The screen looks official, sporting the FBI logo and stating "This operating system is locked due to a violation of federal laws." Then, frighteningly for the one looking at the screen, goes on to say "You have 72 hours to pay or you will be arrested."
Kathy Neary told sister station KCNC what the experience was like. Her husband was surfing the Web when the computer locked up.
"All of a sudden this screen came up that said your computer is locked, you gotta pay a fine."
Neary immediately went to another computer and did some research, then called Norton Anti-Virus.
The virus has been named Reveton Ransomware because it asks for money, and anyone using the Internet is vulnerable. Surfing online is all it takes to get infected. There's no way of knowing what sites are carrying the virus.
Scammers use the virus in connection with other Malware, meaning that simply unlocking your computer doesn't mean the invasion is over.
"If you restart it and play with it, chances are you're going to receive additional infections which makes it even harder to disinfect," Steve Utke with Surge Computers told KCNC.
Certain types of Malware can capture personal information like user names, passwords and credit card numbers.
Experts say if the virus strikes your computer, don't try to fix it yourself unless you are sure that you can. The more time you spend trying, the more the virus spreads. Repairs are rarely more than $100.
For those who have been infected and want to ensure nothing else is hidden in their computers, free Ware like Malbytes and Easy Clean by F Secure are good options to purchase for multiple computer scans.
The FBI has also issued a warning online, stating that it will never insist that people pay a fine to the FBI to unlock their computers.
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