Okay everyone! We’ve officially made a technological segue into the 21st century.  No more looking over your shoulder at the ATM to worry if you’re being robbed! In the information age, the worry has shifted to sitting down at your computer and worrying if your files are there.

Hacking has been a huge problem for some time.  But now we have to contend with not only being hacked, but our computer files being held for ransom?! What?! That’s right! The message you will receive might make you feel like the feds are watching your every little freaky deaky, immoral, maybe even unethical online action.  But the truth is many Internet gangs are making out, like the bandits they are, with something called “ransomware,” according to the Daily Mail.

The unusual tactic these Internet thieves use to victimize you is porn! They put a pornographic image up on your screen and then an official looking government message from follows saying that you have been locked out of your computer and a fine must be paid to “regain control” of your own computer!

They’re banking on you being too embarrassed to have your computer repaired with this type of message displayed.  The fines the thieves charge in the U.S. are usually around $200.  Other countries have been charged as low as $50.

The porn angle is ingenious, said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec’s security response team. ‘The screen and keyboard are locked up,’ he said of the malware’s impact. ‘All you can use is the number keypad to enter a PIN [to pay the criminals].

‘You’re completely shut out of the computer. And few people will want to take their computer to someone for repair, because the screen says that you violated the law, and that you’ve been looking at pornography. And there’s a pornographic image on the screen.’

There have been nearly 70,000 computers infected in an investigation in “a month-long stretch last summer.” Read more here.  Below there is a fix for this problem being offered online for FREE from Norton.

-J.C. Brooks