Burnsville, MN (NNCNOW.COM) -- A new computer virus is making the rounds, and infected users see pop-up messages which claim to be from the FBI and threaten people with a fine or prison unless they pay up.
The virus locks up your computer, holding it "hostage", calling the virus, "ransomware."
Computer users pick up this virus by clicking on links in emails and messages sent through social media sites, or by visiting compromised websites.
From there, a notice appears; "Your PC is blocked due to the illegal viewing or distribution of copyrighted content. To unblock the computer, you must pay the fine of $100."
People who have been hit by ransomware, report seeing different versions of these warning messages; some ask for larger amounts of money and some claim to be from local police or the Recording Industry Association of America.
However, all of these messages are fraudulent.
Users are told they need to pay requested amounts via a prepaid Green Dot MoneyPak cash card - which are difficult to trace - or they will be locked out of their computers permanently and face possible criminal charges.
People with infected computers will want to have the issue addressed as quickly as possible. It will likely take a computer repair expert or firm, to restore functionality and remove any lurking malware.
The BBB is advising people not to pay the scammers.
Posted to the web by Jenna Vogt