Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

August 30, 2013

Police issue cyber warning

‘FBI’ online ruse can cripple computer

VALDOSTA — With so many Internet scams and viruses in circulation, still one would not expect an attack on the computer of the Valdosta police chief.

VPD Chief Brian Childress said when he arrived at his office Thursday morning, an email he had opened the previous night apparently contained a virus that had taken over his computer.

“My screen said, ‘Your computer has been seized by the FBI’s Cyber Crime Unit.’ It contained instructions on where to send money to have my screen unlocked. Our IT department couldn’t get it unlocked and had to reload my computer,” Childress said.

Later in the morning, Childress said a Valdosta State University student came into the VPD, scared, because she received the same message.

“All you can do is take it to a computer technician or reload it yourself,” he said. “But the FBI has warnings out on these viruses, and don’t ever send money to someone if you get a message like this. It’s a scam.”

Childress was the victim of “ransomware,” software that encrypts a user’s hard drive and demands payment in order to decrypt it, effectively kidnapping or hijacking the computer. The software is typically downloaded onto a computer via an email attachment, but there are other ways it can infect your computer.

“The FBI says to not open any attachment you receive if you don’t know who it’s from. Delete it immediately,” said Childress.

Ransomware can also be loaded onto your computer when you browse popular websites, according to the FBI’s website on email scams.

“Once the web browser is exploited, the victim’s computer displays a pop-up warning that appears to be from the FBI. Cyber criminals use ‘FBI.gov’ within the URL to make the warning appear more legitimate,” the website warning states.

Even if victims pay the “fine,” it will not unlock the computer. The FBI instructions for removing the warning page and unlocking the screen are “by clicking on the Safari menu and choosing the ‘Reset Safari,’ option, making sure all check boxes are selected. You may also hold down the shift key while relaunching Safari, which will prevent Safari from reopening windows and tabs from the previous session. Victims can also disable the reopening feature across OS X from the general pane of system preferences.”

The FBI considers these types of scams as attempts to extort money, and requests that anyone who receives this type of email forward it to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov and also, to file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results