Man falls for FBI "ransomware" attack, turns self into cops for possessing child porn

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Man falls for FBI "ransomware" attack, turns self into cops for possessing child porn
Man falls for FBI "ransomware" attack, turns self into cops for possessing child porn

A Virginia man, who believed a trojan scam on his computer was legitimate, essentially turned himself in to police and now faces child pornography charges.

The money-hungry crooks behind the "ransomware" attacks probably never thought they'd help police net an arrest, but that's exactly what happened when a computer belonging to Jay Riley, 21, recently was hit with their malware.

The infection attempts to extort cash from a victim by flashing a warning message pretending to be from the FBI and claiming the victim committed an illegal act online, typically downloading child porn or using or distributing copyrighted music or videos, according to a report on InsideNoVa.com.

Until a ransom is paid, the fraudsters behind the ruse keep the victim's computer locked, essentially holding it hostage. Not paying the cash demand – typically a few hundred bucks – via an online money transfer service results in an investigation from police, the message claims. Users can be compromised with the trojan simply by visiting a website that has been seeded with malware, a tactic known as drive-by download.

Many fall for the scam, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, and computer security experts advise users to never pay any money and to contact professionals to help them remove the infection from their machines.

Riley not only believed the message was true, but he went one step further than emptying his pockets: He drove himself to the police station, with his computer, to ask if there were active warrants out for his arrest. After a voluntary search, police found "several inappropriate messages and photos of underage girls" on his machine, a spokesman said, according to the news report.

Following the discovery, authorities executed a search warrant on his home, examined additional computers and charged him with three counts of possession of child pornography, one count of using a communication device to solicit certain offenses involving children and one count of indecent liberties with a minor, according to the report.

Riley is being held without bail.

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