What do these trojans do?
Our Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen explains, “They lock up your PC, claim that it was locked by the police as you had illegal content on your system and demand a payment to open up the PC.”
So, yes. Your files are literally held ransom (which is a great reason to always have some sort of backup).
The Trojans have claimed to be representing Bundespolizei, New Scotland Yard and the United States Department of Justice. (@Mikko has posted the examples shown here.) Of course, they are actually representing online criminals.
This story has been misreported to suggest that POLICE are actually behind them. Maybe this speaks to our willingness to listen to anyone pretending to be an authority—since who among us hasn’t ended up somewhere online we probably shouldn’t have been?
But, no. Do not be fooled. Criminals are simply exploiting our fear of authority to extort money.
The best way to prevent infection is to keep your PC and your system software patched and protected.
If you do see a screen that resembles one of the examples shown in the GIF above and you are an advanced computer user, you can use our Ransomcrypt Decryption Script.
As much as we all might fear the police, online, it’s the bad guys who are usually out to get us.