Regional Police have issued a warning about a cyber scam that locks down computers and attempts to trick users into paying a ransom in order to regain control.
Over the past few months the Economic Crimes Unit has received numerous complaints in relation the “Ransomware scam.”
Ransomware is a type of malware that attempts to extort money from computer users by taking control of the victim’s machine and locking it to prevent normal use or encrypting documents and files to prevent access. Once activated, a message pops up on the screen advising the user that they must pay a “fee” or “fine” to unlock their computer. Often the so-called ransom message will appear to come from a law enforcement agency and include police logos or other insignia. The message may indicate that some law has been broken or the computer has been associated with child pornography or illegal music downloads.
LRPS advises that police agencies do not communicate this way or attempt to collect fines in this manner.
If you are the victim of one of these cyber attacks the following steps should be taken:
DO NOT send money to the cyber attacker. They will not unlock your computer.
Contact an authorized computer technician for assistance in removing the virus or malware.
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca or 1-888-495-8501 to report the cyber-attack.
Cyber attacks can be very detrimental to the operation of any personal computers or business networks due to the money and time associated with removal, repair and recovery of data. As such it is important to take precautions to help reduce the risk of being victimized.