So, it's Saturday night, and our family is relaxing in hubby's apartment after a long day of traipsing all over San Antonio checking out neighborhoods we might want to live in. Hubby and I are on our laptops: he's playing for me songs I don't know from a top 100 Beatles hits list that he found, and I'm playing online Sudoku while I listen.
Suddenly, my game disappears and a different scary-looking, official-looking screen pops up. It informs me that the FBI has been tracking me on the web and caught me visiting child pornography sites. They've shut off my internet access and the only way I can get it back is by clicking on this handy link here and paying a two hundred dollar fine within 72 hours.
My techie husband immediately gets on his own unaffected laptop and finds a site with instructions for three possible ways to get rid of this malware -- none of which work. He spends much of our free time in the apartment the rest of the weekend trying to free up my laptop for me (much to my chagrine -- I had plenty of other things I was interested in doing with that time). In the end, I had to take it in to Dakota PC on my return to Siouxland for them to fix. The man there said half of the computers he had in the back to work on were infected with the same malware.
Now, here's what I wonder: who's getting fooled by this scam? Who is actually clicking on that link and paying these jerks two hundred dollars? Do people see this and say, "Darn it! They caught me. Better pay my fine"? Do people see it and think, "I know I haven't intentionally looked at anything like that -- did I do it accidentally? Gee, I'd better just pay the fine. I don't want to have to deal with the FBI"? Are people just willing to pay two hundred bucks, whether they've done anything wrong or not, just to get back on the internet quickly? (And surely they realize that doing this just opens them up to more hacking from the malware jerks.)
Are there really enough stupid people out there that would fall for this to make it worth the while of the jerks who created the stupid virus? Are they seriously making a lot of money? Or do they just have a lot of time on their hands and a grudge against modern society that makes them want to disrupt random innocent people's lives just for the fun of it?
If that's the case, Mr. Malware Jerk, you lead a sad life. Seriously, dude -- get a hobby. Might I suggest Sudoku?