Watch out, Mac users. A new version of a common computer virus is now targeting you. This malware poses as the FBI and tries to extort hundreds of dollars from victims.
How the Scam Works:
You are surfing the Internet, and a window pops up. It appears to be from the FBI accusing you of violating US law and, as a result, locking your computer. The message says you need to pay a $200 (or more) fine with a prepaid money card. Do so, and you will get the code to unlock your machine.
The warning looks real. It uses legal language, bears the FBI seal and has “fbi.gov” in the URL. When you try to close your web browser, it only causes more windows with warning messages to appear.
Despite its official appearance, the pop up is a scam. Like other malware, it is installed on your computer when you open a malicious attachment, click on a link in an email or visit a scam website. It is later triggered by searching for certain terms. The “ransomware” virus preys on users’ anxiety about viewing common, but illegal or unsavory, online content, such as pirated videos or pornography.
The virus has been fooling PC users since spring 2012. But the newest version is targeting OS X Mac users. If you have received such a pop up, do not follow payment instructions. Instead, file a complaint with the FBI.
How to Deal with the Virus:
As always, make sure your computer’s operating system and browser are up to date with the latest security protections. And run a virus scam if you may have downloaded anything suspicious.
Here’s how you can unfreeze your computer if you encounter this virus:
- Click on the Safari menu and choosing “reset Safari.” Make sure all check boxes are selected or hold down the Shift key while relaunching Safari. This will prevent Safari from reopening windows and tabs from the previous session.
- Victims can also disable the reopening feature across OS X from the General pane of System Preferences.
- Turn off your computer and start it again in “safe mode.”
- Follow Window’s instructions to do a “System Restore”
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