Alert: SOPA Virus Scam

A new virus scam popped up last week claiming to be a part of the “Stop Online Piracy Automatic Protection System.” As you may recall, SOPA is was an ill-fated bill from earlier this year that didn’t become a law due to widespread internet protests.

If you receive a message on your computer stating that your files have been locked due to being on a SOPA Black List, that means you’ve been infected with a type of virus called ransomware that has nothing to do with SOPA the bill.

Computers infected with the virus will display the following screen, claiming that your computer is locked:

The virus encrypts files on the infected computer and claims that the only way to decrypt them is by paying a $200 fine. The screen goes on to say that your computer has been added to a “S.O.P.A. Black List” because it was used to download copyright-infringing materials, child pornography or illegal software.

It continues, “As a result of these infringements based on Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) your PC and files are now blocked.” Then, you’re told to buy a $200 voucher from any retailer that sells Moneypak-brand prepaid cards and send the ID number associated with that account to a email address.

If you receive this message on your computer, you’ve been infected. There are ways to remove the ransomware, and whatever you do, don’t pay the ransom. If you’ve attempted to remove the virus yourself and you’re still experiencing troubles with your computer, you may need to hire a pro to come in and take a look at what’s going on. At OAC Technology, a Minneapolis-based IT company, we have been removing viruses and malware for over 10 years and can help clean your computer and get you back online.

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