Those afflicted are blasted with the following messages:
“You have been viewing or distributing prohibited Pornographic content.. To unlock your computer and to avoid other legal consequences, you are obligated to pay a release fee of $300.”
“Your browser has been locked. all PC data will be detained and criminal procedures will be initiated against you if the fine will not be paid.”
The scam demands a user purchase a Green Dot MoneyPack card (sold at local convenience stores) in order to transfer funds to the scammers, who’ll then (allegedly) remove the ransomware from a user’s computer.
It’s all bunk, of course, but it’s a fairly well-crafted social engineering attack complete with intimidating fonts, official looking graphics and an apparent fbi.gov URL: fbi.gov.id657546456-3999456674.k8381 . com (for obvious reasons we’re not linking to it). The attack also displays a user’s current IP address, city and state for the extra fear factor.
There are, however, a few ways around the ransomware. The first method is to click on the Safari menu, pick “Reset Safari,” select all items before resetting your browser. Users can also hold down their shift key while restarting Safari to keep tabs from opening.
As Malwarebytes notes, it always pays to throughly review and research a threatening message on the Internet. If you feel you’re effectively cut-off, try accessing the Internet at your local library for research or simply look up information on your smartphone. Finally, if you’re at a complete loss, try asking your resident computer expert and/or repair shop. They should be able to set you right for a — far cheaper — nominal fee.