Police alert public to “scareware/ransomware” computer virus

For Immediate Release: October 18, 2012

Waterloo Region, ON –  Waterloo Regional Police wish to alert the community to a viral attack that is circulating on the Internet and which fraudulently includes a warning from police.

In this scam the virus-infected computer displays one of two pop up screens informing the user it has been locked by the Canada Police Cyber-Crime Investigation (a fictitious facility) and instructs the potential victim to pay $100 to have the computer unlocked.

Police have recently heard from numerous residents complaining of the virus, three of whom paid the fee only to find that the computer remained infected.

The virus is referred to as “scareware” or “ransomware" because it tries to frighten victims into paying for a bogus virus removal service.

There have been several variants of this virus circulating on the Internet. It originated in the United States where it claimed to represent a legitimate warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Waterloo Regional Police would like to remind the public that no legitimate police service would demand a fine or lock your computer. This is a cyber-scam for illegal profits by cyber-criminals. 

You can protect yourself:
• Purchase and install up-to-date anti-virus software.
• If your computer is infected with “scareware”, do not pay an unknown online party to have it unlocked.  You will lose your money and your card data could be leaked.
• A computer which is already infected should be serviced at an accredited computer repair shop.

For additional tips on protecting yourself from cybercrime, please visit the Technological Crimes Unit web page.


Media Inquiries:
Olaf Heinzel, Public Affairs Coordinator
(519) 650-8500 ext. 8773


This translation feature provides a general interpretation of the web page content, but does not represent an exact translation. The Waterloo Regional Police Service is not liable for the accuracy of any translation as all text is automatically translated without manual verification for correctness. Should any translation result in offensive or inappropriate language, please notify us directly. The re-publication of any offensive or inappropriate language is strictly prohibited.

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