If you’ve been illegally downloading music, movies or software, you should be afraid – afraid you’re doing something illegal and will soon be caught.
But, if you’re one of thousands who recently had their computer system locked by the “United States Courts” under Criminal Case NO. 4:12CV072011 – Illegally downloaded materials (MP3’s, Movies or Software) has been located on your computer – you should be afraid – AFRAID that you’ve downloaded malware.
The United States Courts Ransomware is a computer virus that displays a lock screen that prevents you from using your Windows desktop until you pay a ransom. This virus, showing up in the past week in western Idaho, is similar to the Reveton virus, which locked up computers last year. In the Reveton Virus, it was the FBI that allegedly had taken control of the computer.
In this new virus, the ransomware pretends to be a representative of the U.S. Courts and claims the government has found “you are distributing copyrighted music and movies from your computer.”
It orders you to pay $300 in fines within 48 hours – and of course, the fine is to be paid with a MoneyPak. Once you enter the transfer numbers into the screen, allegedly it is unlocked, and service resumes.
In addition to the U.S. Courts, the ransomware threatens to take a picture of you using your computer’s Webcam.
This hoax should be ignored. Like the Reveton, this scam can be removed by a quick trip to you computer repair store. Find an accredited business by going to BBB.org.
Here are tips to avoid malware:
- Be alert and watch for unusual activity is the first sign of trouble.
- Set your Internet browser to notify you of unapproved downloads.
- Upgrade anti-virus programs. This will stop a majority of viruses.
- Pop-ups are annoying software on the surface. Install a pop-up blocker.
- Upgrade your personal firewall.
- Use an email client that includes a spam guard.
- Don’t download software or programs from unknown Web sites.
- Be careful when trading files or programs with friends and family.
- Disable cookies on your Internet browser.
- Read the fine print when downloading programs.