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In Your Corner Scam Alert: “Ransomware” evokes fear

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OKLA. CITY - Ronda Redus' computer was hacked by cyber criminals.

She said, “It scared me to death.”

Someone posing as the FBI infected her PC with a Trojan virus called “ransomware.”

One moment she was browsing online classified ads.

The next, she was being accused of viewing or distributing child porn!

“I'm a grandma and a mom,” she said. “And that's horrible.”

The cyber thieves even hacked her webcam, able to take a picture of Ronda and post it on her computer screen.

Al Heitkamper is a cyber-security expert and professor at Oklahoma City Community College.

He says the “ransomware” virus works to access your sensitive information.

“They modified it now so it's also capturing passwords,” Heitkamper said. “So next time you log onto Amazon or your bank, all that stuff will be recorded and sent to whoever has the malware out there.”

In Ronda's case they threatened her with prison time, then demanded a $300 cash ransom to unlock her disabled computer.

Heitkamper says don't take the bait.

  • Seek the advice of a computer expert.
  • Keep all of your anti-virus software up-to-date, something Ronda failed to do.
  • Avoid clicking on strange links.
  • And don't give anyone your cash!

More food for thought is cyber criminals can also hack smartphones, tablets and gaming systems.

“They can turn on your microphone on your phone without you knowing about so they can listen to your conversations,” Heitkamper said. “There are a lot of things that can be done. “ Ronda is still shaken up over the whole ordeal.

The In Your Corner bottom line is this:

  • The FBI will never try to ransom your computer or extort money.
  • If you think your personal information has been compromised, notify your bank and the three big credit reporting agencies.