State College police warn of ransomware attacks on devices

State College police are warning of ransomware attacks in the area.

“Ransomware is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish the victim's data or lock a victim’s computer or cell phone unless a ransom is paid,” police said in a Wednesday news release.

Recently, police reported on an incident in which an individual was scammed of more than $800 in an attack on the victim’s phone. The individual was reportedly browsing on his device when the browser locked up, saying he needed to call tech support to have it repaired.

The individual ended up paying the supposed tech support hundreds of dollars in iTunes gift cards, police said.

Other common scams involve notice that an arrest warrant has been issued for failure to make payments to the government or another entity, police said.

“We would like to remind persons that any organization or individual that is requesting payment for services in the form of iTunes (or any other type) gift card should be carefully scrutinized,” police said. “No government agency would request payment in this form.”