ImageThe geniuses (I use that term loosely) that sit in dark rooms and develop these lovely little pieces of malware (generically referred to as viruses) that wreak havoc on our computers have come up with a rather clever one this time.  The Reveton Trojan or FBI/MoneyPak virus is ransomeware and stops the functioning of your computer and you are presented with a lovely white screen with a very official looking FBI logo and a rather lengthy proclamation that your computer has been found to have kiddie porn or some other such nonsense and that you must run down to the store and obtain a MoneyPak payment for $200 or more and pay these freaks to restore your computer to functional status.

Needless to say it is not the FBI, there is no kiddie porn on your machine (unless you are a freak), paying them will do nothing to fix your machine and you will be out $200 plus dollars for no reason.  We have seen about six different strains of the infection in our shop.  Most will allow you to boot into safe mode and run advanced virus removal software to remove it. Other strains will block safe mode as well requiring boot from a live disc and subsequent removal.  Some will activate your webcam equipped machine and you will see your own smiling face in a box that is ostensibly being recorded by the FBI (clever indeed).  I have also seen some that will alter the registry to the point that the desktop will load and summarily the desktop icons will be hidden and your wallpaper will change to plain white rendering the machine unusable.  The most extreme version will actually corrupt the NTFS file table, requiring a wipe and reinstallation in some cases.  In short, this is one nasty little piece of malware.  It can be easy to remove in some cases or extremely difficult.  I do not recommend a DIY approach to this critter.  Let a professional like ShockNet Computer Repair Charlotte help with the cleanup or you could risk severe damage and/or data loss.

Anti virus programs will catch some strains of the malware, but the clever folk who develop these things keep changing the code so that the AV data bases are constantly playing catch-up.  Unfortunately, 2013 will probably be the year of the FBI virus and its spawn, so the best protection is pure common sense web browsing.  Do not rely on the AV to prevent these bugs from infecting your beloved computer.  Here are a few things you can do to lessen the chance of infection.

1- Use common sense when browsing.

2- Don’t open any suspicious emails, especially ones with links.

3- Never allow anyone to access your computer remotely unless you know and trust them.

4- Keep your AV updated every day.

5- Make sure all Java and Adobe programs are updated.

6- NEVER install toolbars or download wallpapers from the net.

7- “Speed Up My PC” programs and the like are BS.  Don’t buy and install them.  I have seen ample evidence that these types of programs actually cause problems with the intention that the client will call and pay more money to the company that provided the program to have them fix the “problems.”

8- Run all Microsoft updates and make sure the OS has the current service pack (XP=sp3, Vista=sp2 and 7=sp1).  They can be found here

Stay safe my friends!  Visit us here for removal services.