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There is a new drive-by virus on the Internet that is being referred to as Reveton Ransomware. This virus has been observed to carry along a message to the computer users requiring them to pay a fine for reportedly having been caught committing some forms of cybercrimes, such as being associated with sites broadcasting child pornography. The message is programmed to appear to the user as if it has been sent by the FBI or the Department of Justice’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property section (The FBI, 2012).
Reveton is different from other computer viruses, because it does not require the user to open a file or an attachment. This virus can install itself, when a computer user visits an infected website. Once the computer is infected, it shuts itself down and the monitor displays a message indicating that the computer user has violated a federal law (The FBI, 2012). The message goes on to indicate that in order for the computer to be unlocked the owner must pay the fine for committing such a crime through a prepaid money card service.
Although some have been quick in identifying the malware, other people have actually paid the so-called fines in order to have their computers unlocked and remain on the safe side of the law. IC3, which was established in the year 2000, provides an opportunity for the victims of such crimes to report directly, so that measures can be taken towards those committing the crime. One of the victims of this crime described how the virus infected his computer, when he was browsing the Internet. He indicated that a window labeled FBI popped up and could not close. The message on the window indicated that he was accused in violation of the piracy of downloaded material, child pornography, or computer negligence. It also indicated the penalties of those caught committing such crimes and requested him to pay a $200 fine in order to secure his freedom. The massage said that failure to meet those demands would lead to the computer remaining locked on that page and criminal charges would be filed.
This virus first came to the attention of the FBI in the year 2011. Since then the FBI together with IC3 issued warnings to the members of public, but since then the virus became widespread in the United States. IC3 officials noted that the complaints have increased. The process of removing the malware is difficult for the average computer user. This is because Reveton has been observed to freeze and stop all computer processes. Some of the forms of this virus are very strong as they can start the webcam and leave the photo of the user in the locked window (The FBI, 2012).
IC3 suggests that once the computer becomes infected, one should not pay the money demanded or provide any useful personal information. One should also contact a computer professional to ensure that the virus is completely removed. This is because even if one is able to unfreeze the computer from the locked window, the virus might still operate in the background and obtain personal information such as the name, password, credit card number and address of the user. Lastly, the victims are requested to file a complaint and check for updates on the issue of Reveton virus from the IC3 website in order to avoid being victims of such crimes in the future (The FBI, 2012).
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