More information on malware and virus activity
An FBI public affairs specialist gave some tips on what to do about malware or viruses.
She said that the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a one-stop shop of sorts for individuals to report suspicious online activity, malware, etc: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx,
On the site, they include a page with tips to keep the public safe (http://www.ic3.gov/preventiontips.aspx) and a page that outlines the common online schemes (http://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx).
The type of scheme that the couple encountered is the Citadel Revelton malware: http://www.fbi.gov/sandiego/press-releases/2012/citadel-malware-continues-to-deliver-reveton-ransomware-in-attempts-to-extort-money. When contracted, the computer will freeze and display an official-looking message indicating some sort of violation of law that can be remedied by paying a fine online. The FBI is a law enforcement agency and does not collect fines. Once infected, a computer should be disconnected from the internet and a local computer expert should be consulted to assist with removing the malware completely. Then the user should report the experience using the IC3 website.
The most recent version of the Reveton malware uses the name of our new FBI Director, James Comey: http://www.ic3.gov/media/2013/130813.aspx.
The public should always have anti-virus software installed on their devices and keep that software updated.
As a side note, our Safe Online Surfing program for grades 3-8 (https://sos.fbi.gov/) is a wonderful, 100% free, always on, fun platform for children to learn how to navigate the online safely and securely. Honestly, learned something new from playing on the various islands. Classes can also sign up for the Safe Online Surfing Challenge and compete against their peers nationwide.