Computer virus convinces users they've viewed child porn and must pay a $100 fine

There are still a lot of really stupid people on the internet, judging from the latest scam the FBI just warned against. An existing computer virus, called Citadel, has been repurposed as scam-ware, which notifies users that they've been caught looking at child porn and must pay a $100 fine to get off the hook.

Here's how it works: Users are lured into going to a URL for a "drive-by download" website, which installs a Trojan (called Reveton) onto their machine using the Citadel platform. This Trojan then freezes their computer and displays a warning screen (pictured above) notifying the user that "the user's IP address was identified by the Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section as visiting child pornography and other illegal content." And they have to pay $100 to the Federal Government, via credit card or wire transfer, to clear their record.

I don't know what's the most insane part of this: That someone would be dumb enough to think a $100 fine would be enough to wipe out charges of kiddie-porn possession, or that someone would be dumb enough to enter their credit card information into a random screen that claims to be from the government. You would have to have an insanely low opinion of our government to believe that it would operate this way.

This warning comes from the Internet Complaint Crime Center (IC3), which is made up of the FBI and other agencies. The alert warns:

In addition to the ransomware, the Citadel malware continues to operate on the compromised computer and can be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud.... This is an attempt to extort money with the additional possibility of the victim's computer being used to participate in online bank fraud. If you have received this or something similar do not follow payment instructions.

And this very much feels like a Crime of the Future, something that would have been thrown in as a weird detail in a cyberpunk novel of the late 1980s. [IC3 via SC Magazine]