Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Internet Scam #2: Dept. of Justice Ransomware


Well, it looks like the cyber-criminals had a busy holiday weekend as I, along with who knows how many others, contracted a new rogue program termed "ransomware". Disguised as a warning page from the US Dept. of Justice it states that the computer user has been effectively locked out of their computer by the DOJ for violating the laws of the United States and carries a list of possible infractions (like copyright infringement, promoting terrorism, and possessing child pornography, to name a few) but does not specify what the victim is allegedly guilty of. It does, however, offer you the opportunity to get your computer back if you will simply send $300 via something called MoneyPak. The catch is that this must be done within 48 hours or your PC will be permanently locked and you will be subject to Federal prosecution.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to see through this attempt at separating me from my booze and sushi funds. As relentless as the media copyright holding lobbyists (RIAA, MPAA, etc.) are, there is no pending legislation that I know of that would allow the government to extort money from the public through a Walmart money order.

The good news is that it's relatively easy, though time consuming, to get rid of. Should you get this, or some similar malware, simply follow the steps outlined on the tech websites I've listed below. As always suggested it's best to have some sort of antivirus software and a firewall running at all times and updated frequently. Also, since almost every virus out there is programmed to exploit flaws in Windows architecture, try using a non-Explorer based internet browser. I use Firefox mostly but I got this virus from a tumblr page while using Google Chrome (which is not to fault either of these excellent browsers, though). I have Avast! free antivirus running as well as AVG free and I scan my computer regularly with Spybot Search & Destroy and Advanced System Care all of which are good for removing any remnants of infection once you follow removal instructions.

Links to malware removal instructions:
http://malwaretips.com/blogs/department-of-justice-virus/
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-fbi-anti-piracy-warning-ransomware
http://www.onlinevirusrepair.com/department-of-defense-virus-removal-updated/

Links to free malware removal software:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/combofix/
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/
http://www.malwarebytes.org/

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