Super-hot topic right now is the FBI virus and its evolving variants. Also how do I prevent an infection and what anti-virus (AV) should I be using. I will be going into full detail of what I have seen so far and how to stop this from happening to you. I’m not going to get into too many details about how to remove this virus. There are plenty of others who have written much better articles on how to properly remove it than I could write. Just do a nice Google search and start taking notes. This blog is more of what to expect from a techs point of view.
The first known occurrences of the beastly virus appeared around May 2012 according to http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/august/new-internet-scam at this time reports were few but they were scary. They included reports of child pornography being displayed as “evidence you are infected”. The next step was to pay a ransom fee, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to get your computer cleaned and back to normal. I cannot stress this enough, “DO NOT PAY THEM!” Believe it or not people have been paying these fees according to tech shops around the world reporting firsthand customer horror stories. Some have even taken to completely destroying their computers so that no trace could come back to hurt them! These instances are of the minority but they are happening and it’s scary to see. Those are rare instances however and most people just pick up the phone and call their local tech to find out what’s going on.
The first variant of the FBI virus being picked up on tech benches around the world, would even take a screen shot of your face using your attached camera! Since then I have personally seen 3 variants of this virus making its deadly rounds here in Cape Coral and Fort Myers area. The most common and immediate question asked is what do I do now? Turn off your computer and call your tech support is obviously the best idea. But for those wanting to try and fix it yourself get informed and don’t just start downloading random fixes. I can promise you will end up doing more damage that way, and pro long your computer down time.
Antivirus is just the start to keeping your computer protected. Updates for ALL of your installed programs like JAVA and FLASH are key to winning this ongoing battle. It is common for most people I have approached to just not update anything, because they are not sure what it is or why they should update. Updating your Operating system using windows updates is a must and easily done via your computers control panel. Open your antivirus program and manually click the update button to make sure it is working and loaded with the latest heuristics. Once you have completed those tasks there is a wonderful program called Patch my PC. This nifty program will check to make sure that you are up to date with the fore mentioned updates. You can find it here http://www.patchmypc.net/ I have used this program hundreds of times and I have never had a single issue with it. Completing these simple steps will give you a MUCH better chance at staying virus free. The people who create these viruses are counting on you not to monitor your updates so they can exploit code vulnerabilities in outdated software.
Here’s the good news for all of us though. Variants are being written at faster and faster paces because software is fixing the leaky code. AV programs are putting out patches as quickly as it finds new reported variants. From the 3 different versions I have seen making rounds here in SW Florida are becoming easier to remove and less damaging. So whatever your choice for antivirus is make sure it is updated! If it is not you may be next.