Computer virus warns of FBI arrest, demands ransom
PORTLAND, Ore. - A cute little kitty did Terry Wells in.
"All of the sudden this window popped up," Wells said. "It said we've been watching you. We're the FBI."
Wells' computer caught the MoneyPak computer virus after she clicked on a photo of a cat online.
The virus locks your computer with an FBI seal on the screen and a stern warning accusing you of downloading illegal files.
The virus demands a ransom of $200.
"Usually they're kind of creeped out, especially on laptops," said Beaverton computer repair shop owner Mark Biggs. "Most laptops have a camera. So they're looking at it and they can see themselves. It kind of creeps you out."
Hackers figured out a way to hijack web cameras and put computer users' faces right on the screen with that fake warning. Then they demand their ransom in three steps.
"See they tell you, take your cash to a retail location," said Biggs. "They actually explain it."
The hackers even show you where to buy an untraceable MoneyPak card.
Biggs said the virus spreads when you click links, download files or even visit infected websites, so it's hard to prevent. His best advice is to get antivirus software and make sure you update it often.
Terry Wells said she knew better when her computer locked up.
"I didn't fall for it," said Wells. "I knew right off the bat."