Ransomware Scam Accuses People of Viewing Child Porn, Tells Them to Pay Up

The Internet Crime Complaint Center is warning people about a new Citadel malware platform used to deliver ransomware, named Reveton.

Online scammers' latest ploy is a scheme that lures Internet users to install ransomware on their computers, which then makes them think they violated federal law by viewing child porn and must pay a fine.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is warning people about a new Citadel malware platform used to deliver ransomware, named Reveton.

IC3 says victims are lured to a drive-by download website that installs the ransomware on their computers. Shortly thereafter, the computer seizes up and a warning is displayed that declares the user's IP address was identified by the Justice Department's Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section as having visited sites offering child porn and other illegal content.

"To unlock their computer the user is instructed to pay a $100 fine to the U.S. Department of Justice, using prepaid money card services. The geographic location of the user's IP address determines what payment services are offered. In addition to the ransomware, the Citadel malware continues to operate on the compromised computer and can be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud," IC3 says in its warning.

Reveton is a variant of the nasty Trojan known as Citadel malware that is based on Zeus, one of the oldest and most used online banking trojans. The Citadel crimeware toolkit is now open sourced and is evolving and spreading rapidly, resulting in insidious new versions such as Reveton.

Bottom line: Be careful online. Don't click on links in emails or on websites that are unfamiliar to you or from people or sources you don't know.

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