The FBI MoneyPak Virus
Yesterday was not a good day for yours truly. I had a movie review in process, had everything mapped out, found out the information I needed, and was in the process of trying something new. I had decided to try to dictate notes as I went along watching the movie. The movie was a kind of confusing one - two stories in one, but it's one that has been talked about to death in almost every horror website I've seen. No sweat.
So I am talking and I'm watching. It's going swell. Things are even spelling as they should. Words such as volute, cool brick (okay, okay, so it's still cannot recognize me saying Kubrick worth a damn), and the name of the movie, Oculus. Everything was easy–peasy. I was using a site that I always use because it is the most reliable, and I've been using it almost since the start of this blog.
Suddenly, my world turn to shit! A new window opened in my browser, informing me that my browser was now locked because I had violated federal laws, which possibly included the infractions listed in the title of this blog. I did not even know what zoophilia was. I completely freaked. In a panic, not being able to close anything or control anything, I turned everything off. My computer didn't like that, but I didn't know what else to do.
Now, I am a careful computer user. I've used them long enough to know most of the scams. Whenever people tell me that there are free programs or free games that are easy to download and use, I usually pass. I just don't trust anybody. My current computer system came with complete security software which I will not name, plus I have no less than four extra security programs to prevent things such as pop-ups, ads, and programs that automatically download on certain websites.
In fact, I do not visit websites unless I need information or I am on a secure shopping site. My security software usually tells me if I'm going somewhere bad and prevents it. It did not do so this time. I cannot completely condemn my software, however, because when I waited a little bit and turned up my computer back on, it loaded right up with no problem.
Of course, life being a bitch, when I touched my computer to turn it on, my hubby happened to walk through the door, causing me to almost lose total control of everything from the waist down. I was that freaked. However, I used my security program and did a thorough scan on everything, followed by what I call a drive scrub (I think they call it an aggressive scan or something). I then tentatively opened the supposed locked browser and yes, it worked.
If you have not seen this particular scam before, it is worldwide, and therefore there are many names for it. Whatever government officials regulate the Internet in your country, that is what you will probably see for this particular scam. At first they kept it fairly simple. They presented themselves as some sort of authority, said that your system had been locked, and demanded an immediate sum for its release. This is known as ransomware.
The reason why it's still around, is that the process for removing it can be almost as expensive as just paying the ransom. As more and more hackers realize that this worked great, more and more different types of scams appeared, but they all have the same basic elements: They claim to be an official source, they claim you have violated federal laws that enable them to seize your computer - laptop - phone until the so-called fine is paid. They then added the extra words, "If you do not pay immediately, you are subject to arrest".
The current (for this week anyway) scam is that the FBI has determined you have broken the law. The money demand has been raised - it used to be for $100, now you can see as much as $300 (USD). So what is a MoneyPak? One must go down to a certain store (they are gracious enough to list them for you) to get a blank debit card. The cashier adds cash directly to the card at the register. A service fee will be added.
Then you go back home, and on a keypad the scammers so graciously provide you on your computer screen, you give them the number off the card and poof! There goes your $300. Now, since paying a security company to unlock your computer can cost you plenty, some figure what the hell - just pay the ransom.
There's a problem with that, however. What will prevent those hackers from simply locking you out again in a day, a week, or whenever they want? Pay them once, and you will be paying again. Get a security company or your security software provider to give you a means of removing it yourself. It may cost you, it may not. In the end, however, you will have a way to recover your computer, no matter how many times this little trick is played on you.
Needless to say, I am in absolutely no mood to post the review right now. It took several hours to get my computer cleaned up and back on track. I then went on Facebook, figuring to warn the people that never read my posts anyway of this danger, and I had a screenshot of what they might see.
I also provided a link to a site that gives advice on this scam. Again, needless to say, nobody cared. That's why I don't really Facebook anymore. And when did Facebook become a verb? I Facebook, you Facebook, they Facebook? Really?
Oh, and for a final piss-off, when I posted it to my Facebook horror page, they informed me that my page had been changed. A complete format change. Now, when I decided that the horror page just wasn't working out and decided also to only use it to announce new blog entries, I spent several days cleaning that sucker out.
Oh yeah - I cleaned up the horror page. It was simple, it looked good, it worked... now it absolutely SUCKS. Everything is squished to one column and the other column has useless information for a public page - it's what you'd see on a personal page. Why the hell...
So be extra careful out there, make sure you have good security software (though I did get slammed even though I have it), don't go to strange sites unless they are verified, and don't be guilty of zoophilia, what ever the hell that is. I'm going to bed.
Oh wait... the site you might want to check out that could be a lifesaver is called Naked Security (giggle all you want to, go ahead) who keep track of these things in many countries - and their site is secure (and looks like this):
Or you could look them up on Facebook... if you still Facebook (wait 'til this word becomes an adjective - then you could say "You rotten Facebooking creep!")...