There's a new virus making the rounds and it is a vicious one. People call it the "FBI Ransom Virus" or the "FBI Moneypak Virus." The FBI calls it Reveton. This virus appears to the user as a full screen message claiming to be from the FBI. The message states that the computer user has violated a copyright infringement law and must pay a fine (usually $200) in the form of a green dot moneypak purchase in order to unlock their computer. If the fine is not paid in 72 hours, the virus states that the user will face criminal charges and fines up to $10,000. While the message itself looks very official, it is most certainly NOT from the FBI.
The FBI Ransom Virus is part of a new form of computer virus that disables computers and demands a 'ransom' for the return of computer use. People are urged to be aware of this threat and should under no condition comply with the demand for money. In fact, anyone receiving a message of this sort is asked to contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3 to formally report the issue.
But what do you do to recover your files? There are a number of methods being shared for removing the software. Unfortunately, in my personal experience (yes, I was hit with this virus as well) most of them don't work. I had two different anti-malware programs on my computer and none of them stopped the virus. When run in safe mode, both caught, quarantined, and 'successfully removed' the virus, but when I restarted my computer, the virus was still there. Another boot up into safe mode found my computer infected with thirteen new trojan style viruses. The virus not only restored itself, but multiplied. After consulting a few professionals, I was told that the only real option I had was to restore my computer to factory settings. For a freelance writer with multiple large projects, this is one of the worst things you can hear. Luckily, most of my current work was backed up. Unfortunately, most of my images, scanned documents, articles, and program files were not. I'll get through it will minimal loss, but the amount of time and energy it is costing me has me seriously regretting not having a file restoration service like Carbonite or Moxy. At the very least, I should have backed up my individual files and that is something I'll definitely do in the future.
While this has been unpleasant for me, there is, as in most things, a silver lining. By dealing with this issue, I was given the opportunity to share it with my readers, so that they could avoid a similar fate.
So, what should you do to protect your own computer from the FBI Ransom Virus?
Start by backing up your most important files. Then, if you can afford it, sign up for a full service backup site like Carbonite or Moxy. You should also check to make sure that your antivirus programs or malicious software protection is installed and up to date. If you don't already have one, Malwarebytes is a good one. They are one of the top names in virus protection and offer a free version of their software. While it isn't guaranteed to stop the FBI virus or any specific malicious software, it does serve some protection and will warn you in the case of a trojan or other virus.
The FBI Ransom Virus is no joke and shouldn't be taken lightly. It can attack your computer through nothing more than opening an image or website. If you spend time online (and I know you do because you're reading this article) you need to protect the files you keep on your computer. Back up your files, update your anti-virus software, and avoid clicking on unknown links. Then, if you to end up with the FBI ransom virus, you'll have a degree of protection against it.
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