The FBI Virus (aka FBI Moneypak scam) is one of the latest malware threats that takes your computer hostage and demands that you pay a $200 fine in order to unlock your computer. The message claims that you have illegally visited or distributed copyrighted content such as videos, music, and software. Consequently, the cyber-criminal demands a payment within 48 to 72 hours in order to lift the ban on your computer.
This type of malware is called “ransomware” and it is used to demand payment from the victim. In return, the scammer “promises” to unlock your computer. However, rather than paying the FBI, the money is taken by the cyber-criminal and the virus is not removed. Don’t be a victim. Perform the following steps to unlock your computer and remove the FBI virus.
I have encountered multiple versions of this virus, and lately it seems that a website pop-up version is more common these days. To the same affect, the browser turns to fullscreen view, and blocks all attempts at closing the window. If using a Firefox or Chrome web browser, these browsers offer ways at preventing additional pop-up notices from preventing you from closing the browser window.
Boot your infected computer into safe mode with networking
Because you have no means of closing the pop-up FBI alert message, you will have to boot your machine into Safe Mode with Networking, which will give you access to only the basic files and drivers. Safe Mode with Networking allows you to connect to the Internet, which you will need access to in order to download anti-malware tools that will help you remove this virus.
Power up your computer and press F8 just before the Windows splash screen appears.
This will prompt you to the Advanced Boot Options screen. Using your arrow keys on your keyboard, highlight Safe Mode with Networking and press Enter. While in Safe Mode, you will notice that your desktop background is replaced with a solid black color.
Scan your computer using anti-malware software
If you already have anti-malware software installed on your computer, download the latest malware definitions and perform a full scan of your computer. However, if you do not have malware removal software, download one and install it. I recommend Malwarebytes as it has the most current ransom-ware updates. Other great tools include AVG, and Microsoft Security Essentials. Whichever tool you decide to use, make sure you download the most current malware definitions.
Once you have the application installed with the latest definitions, perform a full computer scan.
Remove the virus from your computer
After the scan is complete, review the results and identify the quarantined infections. Ensure that the removal tool deletes the infections from your computer. If you are using Malwarebytes, from the results dialog box, click on the Remove Selected button to remove all of the infections found.
After the infections are removed, reboot your computer. This time, do not press F8 and allow your computer to boot normally.
You will know immediately if the virus has been removed as you will be able to see your desktop rather than the FBI pop-up alert message. If all looks good, launch your Internet browser and make sure you can visit known sites, such as Google, without any issues.
The most common way to become infected with the FBI virus is by visiting infected websites. Emails may contain links to malicious websites. Phishing is the practice of sending spam email to users with the intention of tricking them into clicking on a link(bait). In this case, you would receive an email enticing you to click on a link that will direct you to an infected website. If you happen to click on these links, you may land on a site that harvests malware such as the FBI Virus.
Remember to keep your antivirus software updated and your operating system current. Configure your antivirus software to routinely check for updates. If your antivirus software does not contain the latest signature files, it will be rendered useless against the most current malware threats.
Similarly, important system updates provide significant benefits such as improved security. Just as with any antivirus software, not keeping up with operating system updates will make your PC vulnerable to the latest malware threats. In order to prevent threats such as the FBI virus, ensure you use the Automatic Updates feature in Windows and have your computer automatically download Microsoft security updates.