Posting it separately here in case one of you gets hit with one. I know all of you geniuses on LGP are too smart to fall for it, yet it must be a shock when a message like that pops out on your screen. btw, a friend of a friend got so scared by one these things, he paid a few hundred dollars to what he thought was the police dept. in California.http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/26/17917497-ransomware-tricks-victims-into-paying-hefty-fines
Computer users around the globe are being hit by a new kind of virus that freezes their computer and accuses them of committing heinous crimes, like distributing child porn. The threats sound real enough that victims are coughing up $200 to pay a "fine," and virus writer gangs are netting millions, security firms say.
The malicious software is so cleverly crafted that it comes with 30 to 40 versions packed inside. It displays in the appropriate language for victims — English, Spanish, Russian, etc. — and invokes the local federal authorities. A U.S. victim might get a notice from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, while a Canadian victim gets one from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Most victims pick up the virus by visiting booby-trapped web pages that surreptitiously install software on victims' machines through "drive-by” download, or by downloading free software from disreputable sites. In fact, some variations of the virus accuse victims of violating copyright law, knowing that is likely true.