How to Erase the FBI Malware Scam

FBI malware illegally uses FBI insignia to extort money from its victims.
... Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The FBI malware scam, also known as ransomware and the FBI Moneypak scam, is a particularly nasty piece of software that seizes your computer, often including its webcam, and demands payment if you want your computer released. Of course this malware has no connection to the FBI or any other law enforcement agency and paying the demanded bribe only opens the door to more payment demands in the future. To remove this malware, try booting in safe mode and then downloading an anti-malware program. If the malware also infects your computer while it's in safe mode, you can run the anti-malware software from a bootable USB flash drive.

1 Using Safe Mode

2 Restart your computer

Restart your computer. Press and hold the "F8" key as soon as the computer shuts down. Continue holding down the "F8" key as the computer boots up. Release the key when a black screen appears with several advanced options.

3 Select Safe Mode

Select "Safe Mode With Networking" by pressing the arrow keys on the keyboard. Press "Enter." If the FBI malware doesn't start in safe mode, continue working in safe mode. Otherwise, choose a different method to remove the malware.

4 Download and install SurfRight's Hitman Pro

Download and install SurfRight's Hitman Pro, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, AVG Internet Security 2014 or any other anti-malware removal software you know and trust.

5 Launch the anti-malware software

Launch the anti-malware software and run a full scan on your computer's hard drive. Follow the onscreen prompts to remove the infected files. Restart your computer in normal mode when the scan and removal process is complete.

6 Using a USB Flash Drive

7 Download and install Hitman Pro

Download and install Hitman Pro with Kickstart on an uninfected computer.

8 Launch Hitman Pro

Launch Hitman Pro. Insert a blank USB flash drive into the USB port of the uninfected computer. Follow the onscreen instructions to install Kickstart on the USB flash drive. Eject the drive when the process is complete and remove it from the USB port.

9 Turn off the infected computer

Turn off the infected computer and insert the USB flash drive into a USB port. Refer to your computer's user guide for which key you need to press to access the boot menu. This is often the "F12" key. On HP computers this may be the "Esc" key.

10 Turn

Turn on the computer and press the appropriate key to access the boot menu. Look for "USB Device" or "Removable Device" or the brand name of the USB flash drive on the boot menu. Press the "Arrow" keys to highlight the USB drive and then press "Enter." The computer boots from the USB Drive, bypassing the malware's files on the computer's hard drive.

11 Follow the onscreen instructions

Follow the onscreen instructions and select "I want to perform a one-time scan" when it appears. Hitman Pro scans the computer and guides you in removing the infected files.

  • Do not back up system files when your computer is infected with a virus or malware. It is very difficult to determine which system files are infected and which are not, so you could very easily be backing up the malware too.
  • Information in this article applies to Windows 8 computers. Procedures may vary with other versions or products.
  • The FBI malware may use other law enforcement names beside the FBI. Legitimate agencies do not extort money from computer users over the Internet.

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.