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Malware Fools Man into Turning Himself in for Child Porn

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Malware Fools Man into Turning Himself in for Child Porn
[ Technology]

A Virginia man has been arrested and held without bond after he turned himself in to police for viewing child porn.

The story is a bit more complicated than it sounds, mainly due to the fact that it was a clever bit of malware that prompted Jay Matthew Riley to go to the police in the first place.

According to police, Riley came into the station to ask if he had any warrants out for him on child pornography charges. Apparently, Riley received a message that claimed to be from the FBI, stating that he had been caught with child porn and that his only two options were to pay a fine or to face criminal prosecution.

Of course, the message was not from the FBI. It was ransomware, a specific type of malware that locks up a user’s computer and demands a “ransom” – usually monetary compensation paid to the virus’ creators.

Riley voluntarily handed over his computer to police, who found “several inappropriate messages and photos of underage girls.” This discovery led to a search warrant, where police confiscated more devices.

As a result, Riley has been charged with 3 counts of possession of child pornography, 1 count of using a communication device to solicit certain offenses involving children, and 1 count of indecent liberties with a minor.

As The Verge points out, it’s possible that the same ransomware that displayed the fake FBI warning could have also planted illicit images on Riley’s computer. The police specifically state that Riley was “viewing child pornography” on his computer when the fake message popped up – but once again, some ransomware has been known to also display these types of images on victims’ screens in order to increase the odds of them paying up.

[Prince William Daily-Monitor, Image via TechRepublic]

Malware Fools Man into Turning Himself in for Child Porn
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