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The FBI and Internet Crime Complaint Center have issued a warning on a new type of computer malware known as Beta Bot.
The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia issued an alert Friday that the malware has the ability to block anti-virus programs, modify a user’s computer, and steal sensitive data such as log-in credentials and financial information.
Beta Bot uses an official-looking Microsoft Windows message box named “User Account Control” that requests a user’s permission to allow the “Windows Command Processor” to modify settings.
Under no circumstances should computer users comply with this request, the BBB said.
If the user accepts this request, hackers will be able to infiltrate the user’s computer and begin extracting personal information.
The FBI has reported that cyber criminals have used Beta Bot to target financial institutions, e-commerce sites, online payment platforms, and social networking sites to steal log-in information and banking information.
Any computer user who participates in online banking or stores personal information on their computer is vulnerable to identity theft through Beta Bot.
The malware can also be spread via USB thumb drives or online via Skype, where it redirects the user to the compromised websites.
“If you see this pop-up message and you did not request it, and you weren’t making changes to your computer settings at the time, do not authorize this request,” said Julie Wheeler of the Better Business Bureau.
“If you feel your personal banking information has been compromised, call your banking establishment at once.”
The FBI recommends the following steps for removal of Beta Bot:
• Run a full system scan with up-to-date anti-virus software on the infected computer.
• If Beta Bot has blocked access to security sites, download the latest anti-virus updates or a whole new anti-virus program onto an uninfected computer, save it to a USB drive and load and run it on the infected computer.
• If you have been a victim of an internet scam or have received an e-mail that you believe was an attempted scam, file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.