FBI Ransomware Relies on Audio Recording to Threaten Victims

A voice repeatedly urges the user to pay a $200 (160 EUR) fine

By on October 9th, 2012 09:28 GMT

Security experts have identified a piece of ransomware that relies on an audio recording to convince victims to pay a fine.

Ransomware is a threat that locks up computer screens or encrypts files and then demands the payment of a fine in order to set the machine free. In most cases, such malware relies on the reputation of a law enforcement agency to make victims believe that authorities are blocking their devices because they accessed illegal content.

Usually, a notification is displayed on the computer’s locked screen. However, Trend Micro experts have come across an interesting piece of ransomware which uses an audio file to repeatedly inform internauts that they have violated federal law and that they must pay $200 (160 EUR) in order to unlock the system.

Identified as TROJ_RANSOM.CXB and TROJ_RANSOM.AAF, the threat drops an mp3 file in the malware’s current directory.

In the meantime, information is sent and received from a number of four malicious websites.

This particular piece of ransomware may not be as dangerous as the one that encrypts the victim’s files, but it’s clear that cybercriminals are trying to come up with innovative ways in an attempt to make their schemes legitimate looking.

We imagine it would be shocking for an inexperienced internaut to see that the FBI is holding their computer “hostage” while a voice insists that they have violated federal law and that they must pay a fine.

However, these types of ransomware infections are much easier to clean up than the ones that involve the encryption of files. A decent antivirus solution run from the operating system’s Safe Mode can easily remove the threats.

That’s why we advise users never to pay the ransom. If you don’t know how to clean it up, call in a specialist, but refrain from paying up because the fraudsters could see it as a sign of weakness and they will surely target you in their upcoming campaigns.

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Ransomware uses audio recording to threaten victims
   Ransomware uses audio recording to threaten victims