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EL-FLIPPO posted a topic in National/World NewsAn Arkansas sheriff's office paid hackers the equivalent of $2,400 to regain access to hijacked computer files. Lt. Daniel Klatt said the department's system was infected Dec. 5 with ransomware, which typically works by encrypting computer files to deny its owner access unless they pay a ransom, often in the electronic currency bitcoin, which is hard to trace. The hackers encrypted the department's management system, which holds reports, bookings and other day-to-day operational data. Last month, an Indiana County paid $21,000 in ransom after its systems were encrypted by hackers, while a Pennsylvania prosecutor's office paid $1,400 in ransom last year. One of the larger hacks involved a hospital in Los Angeles that paid $17,000 to regain control of its computers.
Operating through a call center in India, three men used a string of companies to bilk Americans of millions of dollars by sending them pop-up ads that claim their computers are infected, the FTC claims in court. Since at least 2013, defendants have bilked millions of dollars from consumers throughout the United States. In carrying out their scheme, defendants employ pop-up ads that warn consumers that their computers have been hacked, infected, or otherwise compromised, and are in immediate need of computer security or technical support service. The pop-ups advise consumers to call a toll-free number to obtain that service, and mislead consumers into believing that they are contacting technical support providers affiliated with Microsoft, Apple, or other well-known companies. The scheme is known as "browser hijacking" because the pop-ups are designed so that users are unable to navigate or close them, leading them to think there is a serious issue with their computer. The simple scheme tells computer users their computers are infected with a virus and the defendants can fix it, for money.