Ripley Police warn residents about computer virus

By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel

RIPLEY – Ripley Police Chief Scott White is warning against a new type of computer virus which has surfaced in this area that tries to get money by accusing viewers of accessing child porn and being investigated by the FBI.

“It’s just a virus. The pop-ups and the warnings are all part of the virus. The FBI isn’t actually involved in it.

“If there aren’t actually illicit images, then you’ve got even less to worry about…except for the virus, which still should be addressed promptly,” Chief White said.

The FBI reports this particular malware is known as a drive-by virus that can install itself when users simply click on a compromised Website, according to Police Investigator Scott Watson.

“Once your computer is infected it will lock and a pop-up screen claims your internet address was identified by the FBI or the Department of Justice because it’s associated with child porn sites or other illegal activity.

“Then victims are prompted to make a payment to unlock their machines or face prosecution. Victims should not pay and should contact a computer professional to remove the malware. Having good security on your computer includes having antivirus software and keeping a firewall turned on,” Watson said.

The investigator said he’s seen six cases in this area. Those with questions should contact Watson at 662-837-2210 or 837-2215, and he’ll explain the problem to them in more detail.

“A couple of people with this virus have still wanted it to be forensically looked at to make sure no child porn was on the computer and there hasn’t been.

“No law enforcement division will ever ask for money via the computer, especially by locking up your computer via a virus. This is nothing but a scam so please don’t fall for it.

“If you have anything on your computer that warrants looking at we would be knocking on your door, not sending pop-ups to your computer,” Watson concluded.