Ransomware has become highly popular among cybercriminals and even though security firms have issued numerous warnings, there are still a large number of users who don’t know how to protect themselves against such threats.
According to the UK Metropolitan Police, 1,100 internauts have reported falling victim to such schemes. Even worse, 36 of them were scammed into paying the £100 (127 EUR or $155) fine demanded by the crooks on behalf of law enforcement.
Authorities are currently trying to identify those responsible for ransomware campaigns, but so far they haven’t arrested anyone.
Unfortunately, the actual number of victims is most likely much higher than the police reports. 1,100 is the number of individuals from the UK who filed complaints, but there are probably some users who haven’t done that for various reasons.
It’s well known that ransomware that poses as a law enforcement agency accuses the victim of downloading illegal content. Naturally, those who have accessed shady websites (such as the 36 individuals who got scammed) will try to take care of the problem without actually notifying anyone.
As we’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, the worst thing users can do is actually pay the so-called fine or provide sensitive information that can be utilized by the cybercriminals to gain access to banking and other accounts.
In order to avoid falling victim to such schemes, internauts must steer clear of shady websites and ensure that their antivirus applications are up to date at all times.
If you do become a victim and you’re not too savvy when it comes to computers, contact a security specialist. The Metropolitan Police advises users to report such malware infections on the dedicated webpage on Action Fraud.
In case a certain amount of money has been lost, the local police and the financial institution that performed the transaction must be contacted immediately.