Tech Report: Symantec Issues Warning Against Ransomware Scam

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A computer keyboard. (CBS)

A computer keyboard. (CBS)

LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Software security company Symantec has issued a warning against an increasing cyber-threat. According to the company, they’ve seen a dramatic jump in ransomware cases.

First we’ll start by describing some of the differences between ransomware and some of these other viruses we’ve already seen. It’s sort of a twist on some of the previous security frauds. We’ve talked about how you can get a notice on your computer screen warning that you’ve been infected and if you buy certain software that it will fix the issue.

This is a bit more insidious. You still get a notice, but it typically will look like an FBI notice, saying ‘Your computer has been locked’. It then encourages you to pay a fine in order to unlock your computer. In this particular example you are asked to pay $200 to solve the problem. Of course it’s a scam, if you pay the fine your computer is still infected and you still need an anti-virus product to get rid of it.

KCBS Tech Report:

CNET in fact calls it an online extortion racket run by cyber-criminals to separate good people from their money.

I suspect that with a money trail,  some of these guys are going to get caught. According to CNET an investigation has revealed that there are 68,000 infected computers.

With more than $5 million a year stolen from unsuspecting victims, it’s still a big business. Believe it or not, almost 3 percent of those infected have actually paid the ransom, according to CNET. So if you get any of these warnings do not pay any money and run a legitimate virus scan even if that means getting a professional to help you out.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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