DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — A computer virus is locking people’s computers and demanding them to pay a fee within a certain period to regain access, according to northwest Florida law enforcement officials.


DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — A computer virus is locking people’s computers and demanding them to pay a fee within a certain period to regain access, according to northwest Florida law enforcement officials.



In this so-called ransomware scam, cyber criminals presenting fraudulent FBI communications assert that the victim has downloaded copyrighted material or child pornography. A virus controlling the victim’s computer states that the user must pay a fee of $100-$300 from prepaid money cards.



This occurs whether or not the victim actually broke a law. The computer stays locked even after victims pay the fine, and the virus can cause more damage, authorities said.



If your computer is infected with ransomware, your personal and private data and computer system functionality are already at a very high risk. If the infected computer is powered on and connected to the Internet, Trojan horses may have complete control of the computer and can access all stored data.



Residents should keep their anti-virus software upgraded and in working order to prevent such security breaches, authorities said.



What to do if you're targeted:



Report the FBI MoneyPak virus scam at www.ic3.gov, the website for the Internet Crime Complaint Center. The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.