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New “ransomware” attempts to terrify users into paying up by using the name of Britain’s SOCA crime unit – the Serious Organized Crime Agency, dealing with drugs, people smuggling, human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud and computer crime.
The malware locks computer screens, and a message purportedly from SOCA pops up stating that their computer will only be unlocked if they pay a fine.
“Computer users find that their screens are locked, and at the same time they receive a message purporting to be from SOCA which states that their computer screen will only be unlocked if they pay a fine,” SOCA said in a statement today. “In reality, the computer has been infected with malicious software (malware), disseminated by cyber criminals for financial gain.”
“SOCA will never contact members of the public and demand money in this way. Anyone contacted in this manner should never pay any money, and should seek immediate advice on removing the malware from reputable computer specialists.”
Ransomware is currently a common scam – and on the increase, according to a report in V3. Several WeLiveSecurity relating to recent “ransomware” attacks can be found here. An in-depth analysis of a malware campaign – the Home Campaign – which infects users with ransomware can be found here.
Previous ransomware campaigns have threatened user with the FBI and other law enforcement bodies. The warning coincided with an overall 27% rise in fraud in Britain, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), much of which was attributable to online scams.
“Similar versions of the malware, often claiming to be from other law enforcement bodies or private companies, are also in circulation,” SOCA says. “Anyone who thinks they have fallen victim to this, or any other, form of fraud, are advised to report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk.”
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security