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Fake online 'ransomware' targets porn viewers, hijacks browsers

malware
Don't let this website fool you! It's not FBI — it's just a rather clever ransomware-like online scam.

No, the FBI isn't going to give people who illegally download porn the opportunity to get away by paying $300 — that's just what a new type of online scam wants you to think.

Technically, this scam is fairly straightforward. It "locks" computer screens by sending users to a website designed to look like an official FBI website. Conventional methods of leaving the page or closing the browser will not work unless users agree to pay $300, a fee that the website claims will go to the FBI but really gets rerouted to cybercriminals.

But Jerome Segura, a security researcher at Malwarebytes who discovered the scam, said the ransomware is unique in a few more ways — namely, this fake FBI scam works on several major browsers and all computer platforms, including Macs, which many people think are immune to cyberattacks. However, the scam doesn't work on mobile devices, Segura said.

You'll probably come across it while searching for porn or illegal downloads in a search engine (though Segura also found this malicious link by searching for "Taylor Swift" in Bing, so presumably, it's intended to turn up in a number of popular searches).