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UK Cyber-crime unit issues urgent "ransomware" warning

The virus locks a users computer until a ransom of nearly €650 has been paid.

Image: Jirsak via Shutterstock

THE UK’S CYBER-CRIME task force has issued an urgent warning that computers across Europe are being attacked by “ransomware”.

The National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), a newly-formed branch of the National Crime Agency (NCA) says that emails may have been sent to tens of millions of customers of UK banks, but appear to be targetting SMEs in particular.

The emails carry an attachment that appears to be correspondence linked to the email message like, a voicemail, fax, details of a suspicious transaction or invoices for payment.

This file is in fact a malware that can install Cryptolocker – which is a piece of ransomware.

Once encrypted, the computer will display a splash screen with a count down timer and a demand for the payment of two Bitcoins in ransom. The Bitcoins would cost about €640.

The NCA says it would not endorse the payment of such a ransom and that there is no guarantee it would be honoured.

Lee Miles, Deputy Head of the NCCU says “The NCA are actively pursuing organised crime groups committing this type of crime. We are working in cooperation with industry and international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible and reduce the risk to the public.”

Column: The Loyaltybuild breach shows it’s time to take data protection seriously

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