You can stop imagining because it has happened. We recently had a client contact us about a message that was popping up when they tried to log into their laptop. The message read something along the lines of “Warning we have indicated your computer to have child pornography on it. The FBI has been contacted and you need to pay $”X” to correct this.”
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It is easy to see why our client was so upset; luckily they called us first and did not pay any money as the message directed.
This message is part of a new malware application that cybercriminals are using to try and extort money from their victims. This malware holds your computer or the files on your computer “captive” until you pay the “ransom”. The cybercriminals encrypt the files on the infected computer and require you to pay around $3,800 to get the decryption key.
In another instance, a person posing as being from Microsoft called one of clients and told them that their computer was infected with a virus. Luckily, our client had the sense to put this person on hold and call us. We were able to put our client’s mind at ease assuring them that their computer was not infected.
These scareware scammers, posing to be from a legitimate company like Microsoft, call unsuspecting people and try to convince them that their computers are infected with a virus. They then proceed to tell the victim that they can remove the virus and clean up their computer at a cost of anywhere from $49 up to $450. Should you chose not to pay, these cybercriminals bombard your machine with pop-ups warning you about the “problem” making your computer almost impossible to use.
We recommend our clients take precautions to protect themselves from getting these threats.
Some steps that can be taken are:
1. Back up data regularly
2. Keep antivirus up to date
3. Keep security patches up to date on software
Read more about this these threats: