On Your Side Alert: Warning about Ransomware

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Crooks are hijacking computers with a scheme called Ransomware. If they gain access, they can lock your computer and make it appear you are in legal trouble and you need to pay a fine.

If you are victim of Ransomware, cyber criminals lock your machine and claim the only resolution is to pay up. Crooks usually disguise the message as if it's coming from a law enforcement agency, like the FBI. Cyber Expert, DJ Rivera, says it's happening more and more and people are falling for it. "You can get from a USB Stick, browsing some internet sites, from downloading files, photos, clicking links, there are basically just an infinite number of ways," Rivera says.

If it happens to you, don't panic. Next, and most importantly, don't give up any money. Rivera says don't be fooled, the message may mention websites you've visited. Once they are in, crooks have access to your internet history. "Obviously, it adds credibility by displaying something you have actually browsed through," he says.

These cyber criminal are good at what they do, not only can they lock your screen but they can take control of your computer's camera!"It would not be difficult to implement. So not only do they get the history but they actually take a snap shot and put the snap shot on the lock screen and say, this is you and we got you," Rivera explains.

Believe it or not, there is some truth to this scam. If you pay the crooks, Rivera says they will likely unlock your computer but remember, they still have access and can re-lock it anytime. "What they want to do is get the money and move on, so that people don't go researching more and get the real FBI after these guys," he says.

Some ways to prevent this, never click links in suspicious emails and keep your Antivirus updated. If your computer has been infected, Rivera says during restart mode, you can use what's called a System Restore to take your computer back to a point before it was attacked. If you're not computer savvy, get help from a professional. "The scary thing is that anybody can get this," Rivera tells us.

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