November 09, 2016
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A new virus is locking computers and cellphones until you pay a ransom.
The software known as ransomware has made headlines for wrecking havoc on companies. The CEO of a cyber security firm says that devices can become infected with a simple click.
“We’re getting calls left and right on a daily basis about this problem,” Zohar Pinhasi said. “We are able to help in some cases, in some cases we can’t.”
Pinhasi says the hackers are targeting computers by either sending an email or enticing users to visit a compromised website. Once there, the virus has already entered the computer, but the user may have no clue.
“Two days later, a week later suddenly you’re going to get a screen that says your files are encrypted, you have to send us ‘x’ amount of bitcoins,” Pinhasi said.
Some android phones are receiving messages that appear to be from the FBI with this message:
As a result of full scanning of your device, some suspicious files have been found and your attendance of the forbidden pornographic sites has been fixed. For this reason your devices has been locked…According to these positions your actions bear criminal character and you are a criminal subject. The penalty as a base measure of punishment on you which you are obliged to pay in a current of three calendar days is imposed. The size of the penalty is $500.
A second screen shows the pornographic pictures the virus claims it’s found on the phone.
“Those criminals, they are extremely sophisticated,” Pinhasi said.
Pinhasi recommends vigilance and the use of a cloud computing service for storage. That way, files are still accessible even if a device becomes infected.
Pinhasi says they have been able to help clients in some cases but not every case.