by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A virus that freezes up computers and threatens users to pay a fine to unlock them continues to make the rounds in Charlotte.
The malware uses the name of the FBI in hopes of intimidating people to pay up.
Eyewitness News caught up with computer repairman Nathaniel Ford while he was in between service calls. He said he's been busy in the last few weeks. One of the problems he's been fixing is cleaning up the extortion malware.
According to the FBI, it's called Reveton ransomware. The malware causes computers to freeze up, then pops up a bogus FBI screen that claims users have violated federal law and in order to unlock their computer, they must pay a fine, usually hundreds of dollars. The screen also gives information on how people can pay.
Ford said in the last two months, "We have seen (it) in our office about six times. We've repaired computers that have had that problem."
He said his latest call came in two days ago.
It's not hard to become a victim. Many times users pick up malware after clicking on tainted links they may get in their email. But the FBI said this ransomware can get on your computer just by visiting a website that has been compromised.
The FBI warns that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer, the malware may still operate in the background and could capture personal information, passwords and credit card numbers. The agency recommends you let a professional remove the malware from your computer.
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