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PSNI warns of 'computer locking' PC virus scam

A virus has been locking computers, displaying a police logo and demanding payment of a fine to have it unlocked again.

POLICE OFFICERS in Northern Ireland have warned the public to be wary of a strange computer virus which locks computers, displays a police logo and demands the payment of a “fine”.

PSNI officials say the virus temporarily locks a user’s computer screen, before a pop-up appears claiming that the computer has been used to carry out illegal activities.

The virus purports to come from within law enforcement agencies, and can include the logo of the PCeU (Police Central e-crime Unit), which assists police officers from across the UK, though other logos can also appear.

It then demands that a user pay a ‘fine’, charged electronically through the on-screen prompts, in order to have normal service restored to their computer.

A PSNI statement this afternoon insisted that the PSNI, nor any other police service within the UK, would contact members of the public and demand funds in such a way.

Anyone who has been deceived by such a message is asked to contact their local police at 0845 600 8000, or log details of any infections where no money has been lost

at the UK’s ActionFraud website

.

Users are also advised to update their virus-checker software to the latest available editions.

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Gavan Reilly

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