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FBI warns of new internet virus holding computers hostage

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Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:28 am

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning computer users of a new virus that can attack computers when they visit an infected website. Unlike traditional computer viruses, Reveton does not need the user to open a specific file or email attachment.

When infected, the computer freezes. A message appears indicating it is from the FBI and that the computer has been identified as being used to commit cyber crimes such as viewing child pornography and/or illegally downloading music or other programs. The message levies a “fine” against the user that must be paid in order for the freeze to be lifted.

“This is a new twist on the online scams we see every day,” said Bill Thomas, president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central Indiana. “Most online scams try to trick the user into either divulging personal information or paying money for a non-existing product or service. In this respect, the Reveton virus is no different.”

According to an FBI alert on the Reveton virus, a victim recently wrote to IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) indicating the message directed him/her to pay $200 via a MoneyPak order, and if the demands were not met, criminal charges would be filed and the computer would remain locked.

“The Reveton virus differentiates itself because it can infect a computer without the user taking any action aside from simply surfing the Internet,” Thomas said. “Nothing needs to be opened, clicked on or downloaded, which makes all of us susceptible to this virus and scam.”

The IC3 suggest the following if you become a victim of the Reveton virus:

Do not pay any money or provide any personal information.

Contact a reputable computer professional to remove Reveton and any related software from your computer.

Be aware that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer on your own, the malware may still operate in the background. 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.

File a complaint, and look for updates about the Revetron virus at

This message was released by the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana.

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