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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Defeat a virus that takes over your computer
Article thanks to Kim Komando at Link provided below:

Q. Kim, I can't use my laptop anymore. It gives me this bizarre message that my computer was downloading child porn and that the FBI has locked it down! I'd never do that! It says I have to pay a $200 fine to something called MoneyPak if I want my computer back. Is this for real? How can I clear my name?
A. Being accused of watching child porn is a scary, sickening experience. I don't blame you for being freaked out, Ron.
Luckily, no one is actually accusing you of anything. This sounds like a "ransomware" scam to me.
This scam, sometimes called scareware, is popping up more and more. Security analysts believe it's responsible for millions of dollars in losses each year.
It's becoming more dangerous, too. In addition to completely locking down your computer, it can find and steal your passwords. It's enough to make you consider paying the "fine" just to get it over with!
You don't have to pay a dime to get your computer back, though. All you need is to know is how this scam works and how to get rid of it.
Here's how it works: A ransomware virus sneaks on to your computer. It might be from a malicious website or an infected email attachment.
Though it sometimes spreads as a virus, ransomware can be any kind of malware. I've seen ransomware viruses, worms and even nasty Trojans. Click here to learn the difference between these three types of malware. Regardless, it usually comes from downloading an infected file.
Once it's running, it pops up a message that says you've been doing something very naughty. Child porn and illegal downloading are two common ones. This example from Microsoft shows you what a typical ransomware warning looks like.
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The worst part is that the ransomware locks you out of your computer. Your mouse and keyboard are practically useless. You can't delete the virus or activate security software.
Does that mean you should pay the "fine" to unlock everything? Absolutely not!
You'll just be giving cash to a scammer. Once they get the money, they'll just keep hounding you for more cash. The services they use, like Western Union and MoneyPak, are difficult to trace. You'll never see that money again.
Plus, they won't actually delete the virus, so there's nothing stopping it from coming back. That's if they unlock your computer in the first place.
Instead, you need really powerful anti-virus software to kick the ransomware out. AVG offers the AVG Rescue CD specifically for nasty viruses like this.
You burn it to a CD and then it runs when your computer is booting. It kills the ransomware before it can lock your system again.
Of course, this program can cause serious problems if used incorrectly. Make sure you follow my step-by-step instructions to avoid that.
Even after you remove the virus, there may be some long-term effects. Ransomware can damage some of your sensitive files. Rare forms of ransomware can encrypt your files so you don't have access.
If your files are backed up, you have nothing to worry about. If you don't have a backup, check out my advertiser Carbonite. It provides safe, easy automatic backup to a remote location.
For a limited time, when you sign up, you can get 6 months of service free! Click here to learn more about this special, exclusive offer. 
The best way to take care of ransomware is to stop it before it starts. All the usual rules for avoiding Web scams apply.
First, make sure you're running up-to-date security software. The free software you'll find here can stop ransomware before it becomes a problem. 
You should also avoid malicious sites and emails. Here are my top tips for avoiding scams online. You'll be much less likely to accidentally download a nasty virus like this in the first place.
You computer isn't the only thing scammers can take over. Here are three more gadgets you have to protect right now.

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