‘Ransomware’ Scary Messages that Lock up Your Computer

Our computer repair store in East Peoria has seen a rash of Ransomware computer threats. It’s not just here that this is happened. I read an article recently where a guy fell for the scam. He admitted to child pornography and turned himself in to the FBI. Obviously, with all the press about the government spying on us and computer security, many people fall for the scam.

Here is how it works:

You are minding your own business using your computer. An official looking screen pops up that says something like: Your computer is blocked by Homeland Security because of copyrighted material and child pornography and you have to pay to unlock it. If users follow the instructions, they are to get a prepaid MoneyPak credit card and pay their fine online. Of course, this sounds very “unofficial” when you are reading it but many people have fallen victim to the scam. They are too embarrassed to call for help thinking they did something wrong.

Scary words like Homeland Security and Child Pornography get the attention of the user and they sometimes panic without thinking this issue through. We have had a few customers pay the fine only to find out their computer is still infected. There really is no way to get the infection off without taking it to a repair shop or starting over with a fresh operating system installation.

How can you protect yourself? Anti-virus software will help but keep your internet surfing safe by not clicking on every website you come across. If something pops up on your computer, try to click the red X in the upper right corner of the window rather than clicking the “ok” button. Use anti-virus software even if you use a Mac. Yes, Macs can still get viruses. There are a few free anti-virus software out there such as AVG. Also, many people use Malwarebytes or Spybot Search and Destroy. Sometimes you have to use several different types of software to keep your computer clean, especially if you are on the internet a lot and play internet games. Try not to use two different anti-virus software packages because they will fight for position and can cause issues with your computer. One is sufficient.

So for my public service announcement to you, please use anti-virus software when surfing the internet. Ignore scams like these or at least call someone and ask if you are not sure. No judgment! Be safe out there.

To see a picture of this particular scam go to http://WebTechServices.com/scam

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