Don't Panic! That Ransomware Is Probably Fake

Don't Panic! That Ransomware Is Fake!

For the past several years cyber criminals have hit computers worldwide with ransomware.  The hacker locks up your computer and then won't free it unless you pay a ransom.

But now some scam artists are taking advantage with attacks that only look like ransomware.

A message froze Marth Villanueva’s computer. It stated she needed to pay $149 to remove the message. When she called the number on the screen, she was warned not to shut her computer off.

"I thought maybe they had gotten into my computer... all my financial information," Villanueva said.  

She worried it was a ransomware attack and she’d have to pay to regain access to her files. She’s not alone.  While some people think, they’ve been infected with the ‘wanna cry’ or ‘petya’ ransomware, it’s actually fake.
Nico Froehner works for Best Buy’s Geek Squad and he said they’re seeing malicious looking pop-ups that are ransomware look alikes.

"Mostly what we see are just the pop ups that advantage of the notoriety of the big ones," Froehner said.

He told CBS News it’s easy for a pop-up to temporarily lock your computer. The criminals hope the pop up will scare you into paying up or handing over access to your computer.

The easiest thing to do is turn off your computer and restart it. If that doesn’t work, try force quitting your open programs by hitting control – alt – delete.

Villanueva brought her computer to Best Buy where they fixed it within minutes.

Experts say it's important to have anti-virus software and make sure to keep your computers security updates current.

The Federal Trade Commission says you should keep all your files backed up on an external drive.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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