There was a time when kidnappers made crude ransom notes with letters cut out from newspapers or magazines. However, crimes flow with the times and criminals always find ways to keep up with modern technology. Nowadays, these ransom notes just appear on your computer screen, but this time, with your PC as hostage.
According to a report by Nicole Perlroth published by the New York Times, a large number of people from all over the world have found these notes when they switched on their computers the past year. The disturbing messages—which tell them that their PC or any of the files in it is no longer accessible to them—has affected a lot of computer users from major urban centers in the US like Philadelphia. Fortunately for city residents, they have experts in computer repair in Philadelphia like Scorpion Computers to address these concerns.
However, what really makes people upset about these ransom notes is that they purportedly come from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies in other parts of the globe. The messages warn computer users that they have illegally downloaded music, movies, or pornography, or worse, participated in criminal activities. They are then told that the only way to get their PCs functioning again is by paying steep fines.
At the same time, these computer users are threatened with penalties and/or jail time. This can be frightening to the uninitiated, whether in the US or around the world, who, unfortunately, take the bait.
The hacking operations reportedly started in Eastern Europe around 2009, and with business booming, have spread west recently, eventually reaching the US. According to computer security experts who have been tracking these hackers, the scheme has become a profitable scam earning more than $5 million a year, thus, attracting even more criminal elements. In fact, some gangs have abandoned their previous schemes (such as fake antivirus scams) and now focus on this so-called “FBI virus” or ransomware full time.
Computer users are advised to be wary of messages that appear on the screen; the best way to avoid this virus is by not clicking on anything remotely suspicious. When you receive a ransom note or have your computer locked, immediately turn off the device and bring it to a reputable Philadelphia computer repair specialist to handle the problem. It is best not to handle this hostage crisis all by yourself.