Virus corrupts computers across country
Updated On: Jan 12 2013 02:22:05 AM EST
A local teenager nearly became the latest victim of a computer virus that federal investigators call a scam.
Reveton ransomware infects a computer and can take control of the software, causing the device to lock up or freeze.
A warning then pops up on the screen accusing the owner of illegal activity, such as downloading illegal content.
"It scared me. Seeing this, I thought I had actually did something being on Facebook, but finding out that I really did nothing wrong," Mickey Routzong said.
Routzong said she was worried the Federal Bureau of Investigaiton was about to show up at her door when this screen popped up.
I thought the cops were going to come. So that's why I started calling my computer friends. I thought I might call the cops to find out if I did something wrong while I was on Facebook," she said.
The screen locked up her computer and told her she could go to 7 Eleven convenient store or a Walgreens and pay $300 to get a code to unlock the software. She almost did it until she thought twice.
Christopher Hamer is a computer expert in Jacksonville. He said the warning has nothing to do with the Department of Justice. He adds the creators of the virus have made it very difficult to remove.
"They keep updating it and as more info comes out about it, they change it to make it more difficult to remove. It's a game of cat and mouse," Hamer said.
Hamer said these viruses are typically created by criminals in Eastern Europe and Russia and they're almost impossible to prosecute.
He adds the Department of Justice warning coupled with a web camera image of you is designed to scare you to spend the $300 to remove it. But Hamer said that money won't solve the problem.
"It goes to sleep. Goes into a hibernation mode and because there's no reason for them to remove a profitable operation. It may go to sleep, it may function as a backdoor for other pieces of malware," Hamer said.
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