Virus Watch: FBI MoneyPak Virus

by: Storm Wooten

This, ladies and gentlemen is called the FBI MoneyPak Virus. It is a form of virus referred to as “ransomware”, if you have it or have gotten it in the past, I’m sure you know why it is called this.

For those of you who have never seen it before, what it does is lock down your computer, preventing you from doing anything with it. It displays a screen over your entire desktop, blocking you from accessing everything on the computer. It tells you that “your PC is blocked due to at least one of the reasons below”, then it gives a cookie cutter list of things you may have been doing that they deem “illegal”. Some of the activities listed are illegal (such as pirating music). Some of them are not. Some of them are just disgusting. This is a blanket list that the virus creators came up with to cover a wide variety of subjects. It is their hope to grab a hold of someone engaging in one of these activities and scare them into giving up money. The virus also takes control of any webcam hooked up to the PC and displays an image of the webcam on the page. It displays a link in which you can enter a MoneyPak code. MoneyPak is a legitimate prepaid card service, however scam artists
like to take advantage of this service since funds transferred this way are more difficult to trace. There are variations of this virus with different agency names at the top (CIA, DHS), the primary function of the virus is the same, take your money.

Now, there is no way law enforcement can legally interfere with your computer in any way without a warrant. If there were a warrant issued, they would not block your computer; they would kick down your door and take it for evidence. Also, fines cannot be legally levied without access to a fair trial. This is the reason you are allowed to go to Traffic Court to fight speeding tickets. Fines that are levied are payable only through the courts, and the US Government certainly does not use MoneyPak.

This is a particularly nasty virus, and has proven difficult to remove, since it locks the computer down. There are some versions of the virus that even change the registry and prevent the computer from booting in Safe Mode. In most cases however, data is recoverable and the computer can be repaired without wiping the hard drive. If you encounter the FBI MoneyPak Virus, or any of its relatives, we recommend you bring it in for repair.