Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Scareware forces Irish users to ransom

cyber fraud
[intro]There is currently a dangerous cyber-cirme wave known as scareware rampaging through certain European countries & Ireland is firmly on the dart board.[/intro] We are seeing an drastic increase in a computer-based scam which involves the misuse of Gardai logos in an attempt to extract money from victims, by locking them out of their computers and asking them to pay a fine in order to get the computer unlocked.

This type of cyber fraud is know as ransomware or scareware Although this type of threat originated from eastern Europe in 2005 the attackers have become smarter customising threats to be geographically specific. The most prevalent example of this is where victims are getting infected by the ransomware and presented with the logo of An Gardai Siochana advising them that they have committed illegal activities online and that a fine needs to be paid to avoid legal action.

Once the users computer is infected a ransomware can either (1) lock the computer screen or (2) encrypt predetermined files with a password. In the first scenario, a ransomware shows a full-screen image or notification, which prevents victims from using their system. This also shows the instructions on how users can pay for the ransom. The second type of ransomware locks files like documents, spreadsheets and other important files.

In my 2013 security predictions I predicted that conventional threats like this ransomware will continue to evolve and adapt to circumvent traditional digital security protection. Our advice to users is to make sure adequate protection is in place and never pay the fine !


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