“Your PC is blocked due to the illegal viewing or distribution of copyrighted content,” reads an official-looking warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “To unblock the computer, you must pay the fine of $100.”
This is a scam. This warning is not from the FBI. Do not send any money.
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is warning of increased reports of ransomware. This malware locks users out of computers for allegedly downloading copyrighted content—videos, music, software or pornography—and threatens legal action to collect fines.
Ransomware is usually installed by clicking malicious attachments or links in email messages, instant messages, social networking sites or other websites; once infected, hijacked computers become completely unusable.
The official-looking warnings appear to come from legitimate agencies—police, FBI, RIAA—and often cite specific statutes, penalties and prison time. Scam notices request that fines be paid by wire transfer or MoneyPak.
Due to the complex nature of this scam, infected computers will likely need to be taken to computer repair experts.