Bitdefender warns latest scam is highly effective as it launches free tool to remove the malware
Thousands of PCs in the UK could be infected with malware used to extort money from people warned Bitdefender.
The security company, which has developed a new free tool to remove the Trojan, found on millions of PCs around the world, said the malware scans the user's IP address. It then sends a message saying purporting to come from the police accusing people of piracy. People are told they can pay a fine of as much as £125 to avoid prosecution.
These forms of attacks using malware such as Trojan Horses are being called ransomware by the security industry. Research has shown this form of attack is growing and could become a major problem next year.
Trojan.Ransom.IcePol as the malware in this attack is known is so effective according to Bitdefender that even the police are warning people not to fall for the scam.
Alexandru Balan, chief security researcher at Bitdefender said: "The Piracy Trojan capitalises on that same sudden jolt of fear people experience when they hear a police siren and see the flashing lights behind them as they're being pulled over.
"The Trojan scans the victim's IP address, tells them the message is from the police, and then accuses them of an offense they very well may have committed without even knowing it. Unlike older ransomware threatening fines for zoophilic pornography, this particular Trojan focuses on copyright infringement. It's highly effective."
According to the company the piracy Trojan has its roots in Russia but has now infected millions worldwide. Messages are customised to appear as if sent by the authorities in the victim's country. The cyber criminals have also added an ironic twist sending a fraud alert warning victims about being beware of payment scams.
"With piracy losses rising up at billions of pounds a year and millions of computers worldwide harbouring pirated files, software, music, movies and more, the Piracy Trojan can claim victims in almost any country, among any social group," warned Bitdefender.
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