The Washington County Sheriff’s Office
has issued a "computer virus alert" for local businesses, government agencies and residents. Officials say a new variant on an ongoing scam has affected at least one computer
in Washington County and could possibly infect many more.
It’s described as “ransomware,” which infects a user’s computer and takes control of it, with someone on the other end claiming to be an agent with the National Security Agency.
The phony agent demands that the computer user make a
payment to the NSA in order to relinquish control of the computer.
This fake NSA
virus is a version of an earlier FBI virus, but the fix for the FBI virus does
not work for the new strain.
The Sheriff's Office says users who get infected by this virus gets will most
likely lose their data by having to reinstall Windows, and may lose money by
having to pay someone to fix this, but
it appears that standard
antivirus programs such as Norton or McAfee will probably catch and quarantine
this virus, plus it will likely be blocked by firewalls utilized by many
businesses and government agencies.
The key is to keep your antivirus and malware programs and firewall