9OYS Consumer Watch
FBI-impersonating virus locks up computers for ransom
Scammers looking to cash in by infecting computers
Reporter: Justin Schecker
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - An internet virus posing as the FBI continues to infect computers in Tucson.
When her computer froze and a message popped up accusing her of having illegal downloads, Karen Richeson knew something wasn't right.
"We don't download any of that stuff," said Richeson, who contacted Nine on Your Side because she wants people to be aware this virus is still out there.
But there was something on the screen she found even more alarming.
"A picture of me that was taken without my knowledge from my laptop camera," she said.
The FBI virus had taken over her computer. Don't be fooled by the seal, it is a scam that infect your computer when you click on a compromised website. It hopes to trick you into paying a couple of hundred dollars to have your computer fixed.
"I thought because I had an antiviral program that I was paying extra for that it would of taken care of this," Richeson said. "It would have fixed this."
"I don't know what the lag time is when it gets on your system until it hits," said Cliff Levy, President of Hi-Tech Computers. "I don't imagine its very long."
Levy has more than 25 years of experience repairing computers. He told Nine on Your Side this virus is one of the most sophisticated he has encountered.
"If this shows up on your screen, shut down your computer just turn it off. Pull the ethernet cord out and bring it in somewhere," Levy said. "You're not going to get it off. It's just nasty."
"Well, because I knew I hadn't downloaded any of this illegal information and I just didn't want anybody else to have to pay extortion money to thinking they would free up there computer again," said Richeson, explaining her decision to reach out to Nine on Your Side.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) first warned about this virus in August. If your computer catches the virus, the BBB recommends under no circumstance should you pay anything or provide personal info. It adds your best bet is to take the infected computer to a professional repair shop.
Nine on Your Side looked into this story because one of our viewers asked us to. If you have a problem and you would like Nine On Your Side to look into, just ask and we'll investigate. Email us at email@example.com or call our on your side line, 290-7726.