Don't Get Tricked Into Child Porn Fines - The UpStream

Don't Get Tricked Into Child Porn Fines

posted Sunday Jun 3, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Don't Get Tricked Into Child Porn Fines

There is a new scam on the Internet and it is one of the better ones we have heard about in the last few years. Online scammers are luring people into installing a ransomware app on their computers that then informs them that they have violated federal child pornography laws and takes them to a website to allow them to pay their fine. Obviously, anyone with a brain knows that the government does not communicate with you through pop-ups on your computer, nor do they merely fine you for child pornography. Also, chances are people who have viewed child pornography know it and are probably waiting for the cops to bust their doors down, not offer them a way to pay a fine.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has already issued a warning about the altered version of the Citadel malware platform, named Reveton. My guess, is, however, people who would fall for something like this have never heard of the IC3 and will not receive this warning. If you are reading this, you might want to warn your parents and less tech-savvy friends.

I know you want to know how this works and why it is successful, so hit the break for the details.

The IC3 says that users are lured to a redirect site that installs the software on their computer and then, shortly after, locks up their computer. A message is displayed stating that their IP address has been identified as visiting a website offering child pornography or other illegal content. According to the warning,

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.

That sounds like an argument against location-based services, but since those are here to stay, it sounds like an argument for better technology education. If more people understand how the Internet actually works, scams like this, as well as Nigerian princes, will no longer be effective.

Have you ever fallen for an Internet scam or know someone who has? Let us know in the comments section.

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