F-Secure Labs has found that Ransomware is on the rise.
What is Ransomware?
It is malware that upon infection expands Internet Explorer to a full screen (F11). Ransomware then displays a message claiming to be from a local police unit. The message usually states that your computer has been used to browse sites containing child and animal abuse. It also might claim that your PC has been used to send e-mail spam on topics related to terrorism. Or you may be accused of piracy. Thus your computer has been locked until a fine is paid.
It’s scary and the Labs has seen it in Finland, Germany and various other European countries. As with all malware, if it works, it will end up all over the world eventually.
The Labs reminds you: “If your computer is ever compromised by Ransomware, do not pay anything to the malware authors.”
In almost all cases, paying the fine does not free up your computer anyway. Also remember that neither the Finnish police nor any other Police in the world uses Paysafe, Ucash, PayPal or any other prepaid billing systems for fines. If any message is demanding your credit card or any other payment method it is most certainly a scam and not legitimate government official.
How can you prevent ransomware?
1. Keep your PC updated with the latest system and security software. Our Health Check makes that easy.
2. Especially update your Acrobat PDF reader to the latest version, or switch to another PDF reader.
3. Update your Java runtime. Or, if you do not need Java, it is highly advisable to uninstall it. If you do need Java, at least consider disabling it within the browser when not in use. Or, switch to Google Chrome which will ask before Java is executed from unknown sites.