Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cyber Criminals FBI Virus Strikes in Alabama


FBI Virus Strikes in Alabama
Recently, we’ve been getting a large volume of calls due to a “drive by” virus on the Internet, and it often carries a fake message and fine purportedly from the FBI. This new internet scam has been around since July or August of 2012, but has recently been very active here in Alabama.
It is called the FBI Moneypak Ransom-ware Virus.
The FBI Moneypak virus (FBI virus, Citadel Reveton) is ransom-ware disguised as the Federal Bureau of Investigation that uses Trojans (Trojan.Ransomlock.R) to lock computer systems. The FBI virus alleges the computer has been involved in illegal activity and cyber crimes by the FBI (alleging downloading or distributing copyrighted material or viewing child pornography, etc.) It then demands a fine of $100 or $200 to be paid in order to unlock the computer system within an allotted time by use of Moneypak or Green Dot cards. Green Dot Moneypak cards are prepaid debit cards that can be purchased at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS etc.
The FBI Moneypak ransom-ware virus also states on the fake FBI screen that the computer owner may receive jail time if a fine is not paid. Be aware that this is malware and the claims made by this virus are not true, and the computer owner is not in trouble with the FBI. Paying the fine using Moneypak cards will not fix this malware or make it go away.
The FBI virus causes the computer system to lock, not allowing the user to access the computer’s desktop, or access the internet. Once the computer is infected the user is directed to a fraudulent FBI screen. The fraudulent FBI page, screen or website details an alert message that reads:
“Attention! Your PC is blocked due to at least one of the reasons specified below”
What follows on the screen is a lot of legal criminal codes that the computer user has supposedly violated, and a time frame for paying the fine that will unlock the computer.
When the computer user is taken to the fake FBI drive-by download website page, a video screen, which is streamed from the users connected webcam is displayed as “recording”. If the computer does not have a web cam connected, the video screen will appear blank but will still show as “recording”. The FBI virus and malware is capable of recording through a webcam attached or built in to the infected computer.
The FBI Moneypak virus may cause installed Antivirus software to malfunction. Anti Malware and Antivirus programs can be used to scan and remove the FBI Moneypak virus but in many cases the infection has progressed far enough to disable the removal software. There are steps around this, such as booting the system in safe mode or restoring the computer to an earlier time, unplugging from the internet, denying Adobe Flash, using a bootable CD/DVD, or slaving the hard drive to an unaffected machine for cleaning.
If you are infected with ransom-ware such as the FBI virus your personal and private material and computer system functionality is already at a very high risk. If the infected computer is powered ON and connected to the internet, Trojans have complete control of the computer and every piece of data stored on it.
The virus is very persistent and can be tricky for an average computer user to get rid of. Please make sure your antivirus is up to date to thwart this type of malware.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center suggests the following for those who become a victim of the Reveton virus:
  • Do not pay any money or provide any personal information.
  • Contact a computer professional to remove Reveton and Citadel from your computer.
  • Be aware that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer on your own, the malware may still operate in the background. Certain types of malware have been known to capture personal information such as user names, passwords, and credit card numbers through embedded keystroke logging programs.
  • File a complaint and look for updates about the Reveton virus on the IC3 website, or your local computer repair centers website.
UPDATE: May 31, 2013

FBI issues cyber security warning to all users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 8

Computer Doctor is urging all consumers and businesses to pay close attention to the Cyber Security Advisory issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding a vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser (IE8) that could allow scammers to access and take over users' computers. The risk for all users – home, business and government – is high, and the Computer Doctor is urging anyone with IE8 to follow the recommended steps to address the problem.

The problem was first announced May 9, 2013 and and on May16, 2013 Microsoft released a temporary fix. Here is the original overview from the FBI:
 "A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer, which could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. Exploitation may occur if a user visits or is redirected to a web page which is specifically crafted to take advantage of the vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in an attacker gaining the same privileges as the logged on user. Depending on the privileges associated with the user, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Failed exploit attempts may result in a denial-of-service condition."
The FBI is recommending this fix... a workaround provided by CERT:

Microsoft is working on a patch to undo the vulnerability, which does not affect other versions of IE.

"Computer Doctor recommends that everyone with Internet Explorer 8 apply the temporary fix immediately," said James Moore, Owner and general manager of Computer Doctor locations throughout central Alabama. "If you are not sure which version you have, try running the fix. If you don't have IE8, the fix will stop running and let you know that your system is not at risk. Microsoft will let you know when the patch is available, and you need to download that as soon as it is."
"This is a good opportunity for Computer Doctor to reinforce how critical it is to maintain up-to-date anti-virus software on every computer, tablet and smart phone connected to the internet," Moore added. "Consumers also need to be extremely cautious when clicking on links in email and social media messages, or opening email attachments. Scammers are very sophisticated in their techniques, and the results can be devastating: identity theft, loss of personal data, bank and credit card fraud. If you are not sure, don't click."
More information, visit links below
News Report  Video

Safe gaurd data, Be sure to Back it up!

I can't stress how important computer data is worth to us all, especially people like myself who's bread and butter is on a computer. Computers have grown on us all over the years as they have been a means of making certain things in life easier. So saying that it's not hard to realize that losing important computer data can in fact ruin a big group of us.

It's overwhelming to think that your data could be lost at anytime. We rely on our computers to store our precious data but these machines are known to fail from time to time. Though computer systems have been improved and have advanced tremendously over the years, but it is still very possible to lose data no matter how good the computer is. They are machines made by man, and men make mistakes, so it's impossible for man to build the perfect computer.

However, there are ways to prevent data loss. You can take steps to preventing losing precious data and the most obvious and easiest way, is to back it up and keep backing it up. Depending on how important your data is will determine how often you should make backups. If it's that important I'd recommend making daily backups, though most will likely only make weekly backups. But it is possible to buy software that can backup data for you, or you could setup a bunch of cheap hard drives in a RAID array.

Some people might still backup small bits of data day to day, using floppy disks. But this probably isn't good enough. What you need to be doing is making full backups of your hard drive on a regular basis. Another way to backup data would be to burn files to a DVD/CD or even a dual layer DVD. There are programs that can do this for you such as acronis true image and norton ghost. These programs will make a backup of your entire hard drive and you can either store that backup on another hard drive or you can select another option such as burning the backup to a CD/DVD. The best thing about these programs is that not only do they back up your data but they also backup the operating system. Meaning that if you restore a backup it will actually restore the operating system with all your settings and programs. These programs aren't free but they are well worth the investment if you're worried about data loss.

So backing up your data could be for personal reasons or it could be for business, either way you can't go wrong with backing it up. Make sure you backup data correctly too as even this can go pear shaped. There's nothing more frustrating than a backup that wasn't made properly and then not realizing this until after data has corrupted and then you get your backup, try to restore but the backup is corrupt also. A very bad situation to be in and trust me, i should know I've been there...