Computer users everywhere need to be aware of the “FBI virus” that has been around now for over a year. Statistics show that computers being serviced represent about 40 percent of the units brought in by customers for infection with the “FBI virus”. This virus has been so successful and is so dangerous because it’s elaborate, and it uses fear to coerce its victims. It’s important for computer users to remember that this virus is common place around the entire country. Some people have been duped into paying over $400 to get access to their operating system again.
This virus locks the computer, and displays an FBI badge, the user’s IP address and username on the screen. Alongside this display is a disclaimer that states that the computer user has been blocked from the internet for viewing or downloading illegal content like child pornography and other types of taboo websites. The disclaimer alongside the official FBI badge also states that the computer user will be granted access to the internet again by making payments of a few hundred dollars through Green Dot MoneyPak or other online services. Several versions of this virus look different, but they all have the same intent: scamming money from fearful computer users.
FBI Issues Statement on FBI Virus
The disclaimer prompt displayed by the virus can be a very scary experience that catches any type of computer user off guard. This virus can even cause a rift or tension between people that share one computer. It’s important for computer users to remember not to blame each other for contracting this malicious virus. The virus comes with detailed instructions and typically displays a deadline of 48 to 72 hours to make the payment online. Some of the disclaimers for this virus quote federal statutes and tell computer users to contact an “fbi.gov” email if they have any problems. This is a very convincing ruse, but it’s simply a sophisticated scam, nothing more.
Many people contract this virus on websites that are booby trapped, emails and different social media links. It’s important for computers users to remember that anytime they see a message or prompt similar to what is described above, it’s absolutely a scam, and not a message from the FBI.
The FBI has already released a notification stating, “The FBI does not send unsolicited emails to the public. If you click on the embedded link you run the risk of infecting your computer with a malicious virus.”
The reason that the majority of the customers contract this FBI virus failed to upgrade their respective anti-virus software with the latest updates. The reason this is so important is because hackers are constantly making new modifications and creating different versions of this virus in order to circumvent many of the latest online fixes. Initially, the FBI virus mostly affected users with a Windows OS; more recently, Mac users are being infected as well. Fortunately, smartphones haven’t been susceptible or infected with this virus as of yet.
Walmart Responds to FBI Virus
Since it’s one of the major retailers that sell the Green Dot MoneyPak card, Walmart has already released a statement concerning the “FBI virus” that has victimized many computer users.
Walmart issued a statement to assure customers that it is compliant with the Internet Crime Compliant Center, and not associated with the FBI virus scam.
The Internet Crime Compliant Center is a collaborative partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Green Dot also recently issued a release stating that they would be cooperating with the FBI and the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Division in order to protect computer users from this virus.
Some of the different versions of the virus go as far as to pull screen shots or pictures from the computer’s webcam in order to make the ruse even more convincing.
There is no doubt that most computer users panic when they are barred from their OS, and see this prompt donning a badge from the local authority. Fortunately, there are computer technicians and software packages available that are able to remove this virus manually. However, many computer technicians say it can be extremely difficult for the average layperson to find the source file of the virus once it is already on the computer.
Green Dot urges consumers to call in and report any fraudulent activity that resembles this FBI virus. Green Dot will typically try to recover any funds they can when contacted immediately by a consumer that has been recently victimized by the FBI scam. Green Dot will also work with law enforcement in order to try and identify the culprits as well. It’s important for computer users to remember not to give in to this latest scam, no matter what it says about a deadline or having your personal information. It’s important for computer users to remember that the government or any local authority would never require payments to be sent with a Green Dot Money Pak card over the internet.