1100 Brits report e-cop ransomware: takes £3,600

Europol investigates but no arrests as scammers make off with 3600 quid.
  • Liam Tung (CSO Online)
  • — 02 August, 2012 11:28

London’s Metropolitan police have warned British citizens not to pay a fraudulent £100 ransomware fine that has hit over 1000 citizens and claimed 36 payments.

The Met has received 1,100 reports from the public that a strain of ransomware, which typically holds a victim’s files hostage until a ransom is paid, is demanding payment of a £100 fraudulent fine.

The ransomware demand impersonates the UK's e-Crime unit and has so far conned 36 victims into paying the fraudulent £100 fine, it said.

“Genuine law enforcement agencies would never contact members of the public via this method and demand funds in this way,” said the Met--urging citizens not to pay the ransom, install antivirus and patch software in order to reduce the chances of infection.

Police-themed ransomware has been plaguing European computers over the past year, with Germany infections in December 2011 reaching over 25,000, according to Microsoft.

The ransomware attackers typically claim a local authority has detected the existence of [[xref: http://www.cso.com.au/article/429633/ransomware_threatens_victims_police_reports_child_pornography/ |child abuse material|]] on the infected device and that the user has visited pornographic websites deemed illegal in that jurisdiction.

The Met in February warned citizens of the scam, but at the time did not report any actual victims. The ransom message claimed the fine was being issued because the victim had visited pornographic websites, according to ComputerWorld UK.

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