FBI warns about 'ransomware'
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
CHARLOTTE -- The FBI is issuing a warning about a computer virus that tries to extort money from users. It's called "ransomware." The virus installs itself onto a computer from a compromised website, then locks the computer and says pay a fine, or the FBI will come looking for you.
"We want to warn people about this virus," said Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch with the Charlotte branch of the FBI.
Lynch said unlike other viruses, your computer can be infected just by visiting a compromised website.
"It will automatically take over your computer, lock it and tell you violated a federal law," said Lynch.
The message says it's from the FBI.
"Part of the scare tactic that this virus uses is that you have viewed child pornography or violated some other federal law," said Lynch. "It is constitutionally illegal to lock a computer user's computer. The FBI would not do that."
The ransomware epidemic started in August, but appears to only be getting worse.
"We're getting 30 calls a day to our local office of people whose computers are locked," said Lynch.