FBI Warns Of Malware Posing As… The FBI

Virus Malware Security Laptop

Reveton accuses victims of copyright infringement and asks for money

The US Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued a warning about a strain of malware called Reveton, which locks the user’s computer and attempts to extort money while posing as the FBI.

Using the Citadel malware platform, Reveton can take control of the victim’s computer and is smart enough to offer victims payment options based on their country of residence.

Fear as a weapon

The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center– a consulting agency dealing with economic and high-tech offences. It accepts Internet-related crime complaints and publishes regular reports and warnings about emerging uses of malware.

FBIAccording to IC3, despite an advanced warning in May, the number of Reveton infections is increasing rapidly, resulting in dozens of new complaints every day.

Once installed, the clever malware locks the computer and displays a message that supposedly originates from the FBI. It accuses the user of downloading copyrighted content, watching underage pornography and generally violating US Federal Law. It then threatens the user with a fine of up to $100,000 and a lengthy term in jail.

To atone for these sins, victims are given the chance to pay a reasonable ($100 – $200) fine to the ‘US Department of Justice’, using prepaid money card services.

To add to the dramatic effect, Reveton can also take control of the computer’s webcam and take a picture of the user, which is then displayed in the message window.

The IC3 warned that under no circumstances should the unfortunate user pay money or enter any information into the page under the FBI banner. If the infection cannot be dealt with on the spot, the agency recommended contacting a local computer expert for assistance.

In July, the creators of Citadel Trojan, on which Reveton is based, claimed that the software would be removed from the market and only existing customers would be able to receive upgrades. Analysts had suggested that the move could be an attempt to create urgency and generate more sales of the malware platform.

Earlier this year, IC3 warned frequent travellers about the dangers of hotel Wi-Fi networks.

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