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


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