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Viruses Which Hold Your Computer's Data for Ransom Are Now Making Criminal Gangs as Much as $5M a Year

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FYI: Thought I would post this for anyone that may not be aware of this scam.

There are steps listed in the video below to remove this virus from your computer if you should be unfortunate enough to get it.

Ransomware seizes control of computers and demands payment to free data

New variants claim to be the work of law enforcement agencies

They accuse users of some crime, then demand payment of a 'fine'

Cyber-criminals are making $5million a year using a computer virus that holds the data on your hard drive to ransom.

The scam has been around for several years, but new variants which claim to be the work of law enforcement agencies means the number of victims has soared.

Ransomware is now a major criminal industry, said Symantec, the company behind anti-virus packages like Norton.


Held to ransom: A typical screen displayed by a ransomware virus to extort money from users after seizing control of their computers. They often accuse users of criminal activity to scare them into paying up

The criminal strategy has been in play for at least a half-dozen years, but until relatively recently, was rare, ineffective and focused on Eastern European victims.

That's changed, said Mr Haley, who said there has been a whole raft of 'improvements' to the scam, ranging from a more reliable payment mechanism and stronger encryption to completely locking up the PC and thwarting repairs by shaming the victim with on-screen pornography.

They've also expanded their hunting territory. 'It began in 2011, when they started to move out of Eastern Europe, to Germany and the U.K., then began to move to the U.S,' said Mr Haley.

From the first to the third quarters of 2012, for example, Symantec tracked a significant uptick in ransomware infections in the U.S.


Expanding: This graphic shows the geographical distribution of ransomware attacks between July and September this year. The U.S. and Germany suffered most infections, followed by the UK then France


Read more: http://www.dailymail...l#ixzz2EjATYwLK

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