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Computer Fraud Warning - Ransomware and Scareware

By 250 News

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 04:44 PM

Prince George, B.C. -The Prince George RCMP are advising  the latest scam affecting many Canadians is also impacting residents of Prince George.

The Prince George RCMP have received reports from residents that they have been "locked out" of their computer and received a pop-up message stating  their computer has been frozen by the police for a criminal investigation. In some cases the pop-up provides a list of possible offences, while in other cases the pop-up may list a specific offence such as "child pornography" or "illegal music downloading". The message then tells recipients to pay $100 via a payment service provider so their computers can be unlocked. 
These warning messages claim to come from the RCMP or other Canadian government agencies, but they DO NOT and it is important that you DO NOT send money. These types of messages, commonly known as "Ransomware" or "Scareware", are designed to create such shock and anxiety that victims respond by sending money quickly. Your computer will not be unlocked if you pay the money and you will never get your money back. 
If you receive one of these messages, please be aware that it is a scam - these messages are not being issued by the RCMP.  If you've been "locked out" of your computer, it's an indicator that your system may have been infected with malware and you will need to take steps to address the problem.
Tips to protect yourself:
  • Never click on a pop up that claims your computer has a virus
  • Update your anti-virus software often and scan your computer for viruses regularly
  • Don't click on links or attachments in e-mails sent to you by someone you don't know
  • Turn on your browser's pop-up blocking feature
  • Never download anti-virus software from a pop-up or link sent to you in an e-mail  
If you've received a ransomware / scareware message, police want to know about  it.  Contact your local RCMP Detachment or police force of jurisdiction and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) to report it.

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It pays to be a bit tech savvy with your computer and smart when surfing and downloading files. Graphics programs can contain malicious code embedded in the photo file, Surfing random sites that have ads for additional content for you to click. Be aware of any site that takes a long time to load on your screen, this can be a warning the additional content is being loaded onto your system. If you run into a "black hole site", this is a site where pop-ups take over your screen. Don't click the any boxes that ask you for a yes or no. Simply power down your computer without clicking any user feedback prompt. Powering down will disconnect you from the feed and prevent any further material from being loaded onto you computer, it's not an "acceptable means" of exiting but will save you from screwing your computer up from an accidental download. This works well when you find your system has frozen.
or buy a mac.......:)
Thanks Pro, appreciate the info.
Why buy a mac, they can get viruses too!
yeah there's about 4 of them out there and they aren't easily spread.......and then there's PC's, I believe the count is at 17 million......I think I arrest my case!!
Or run Linux, like I do. Malware is all but unknown, even rarer than on Macs.
Or just don't do stupid things to get viruses and malware.
Probably because pc's sell 17 million to 1 against mac's,and soooo over priced....!
When they say they need to know--
What kind of information do they need ?
What should we all get together to tell them ?
Just so we are ready.
jonnypg, maybe your so busy trying to get virus's of your PC, that you've forgotten to look around. How many windows phones do you see vs iPhones? How many iPad's do you see vs every other type of tablet?

As for the price, I have had my Mac for 3 years. Under the PC world I would need to be looking for another computer right about now because my computer would be slower than molasses and need to be replaced because the operating system isn't compatible with the latest software out there. Whereas with my Mac, it's as fast as the day I opened it and because Apple handles all the software as well as the hardware updates to the operating system actually work......... so is it more expensive? Not in the long run.

Even in the short run it's only about 25% more expensive. Well worth it when you shed all the problems that you encounter with PC's.
Hackers can hack Mac's anytime they want. They just don't because they feel sorry for the folks that bought them.
I don't get viruses or malware. Mind you, I don't click on unknown links.

As for mac's, I would buy one, but then I'd have to become a mac fanboy like mwk. No thanks.
Why do the Crapple fanboiz constantly need to justify their purchases? If you buy into the hype, good for you but the other 98% of us really don't give a damn.
I'd buy a Mac but most business software is written for windows, and then adapted for Mac, so it's just not worth the trouble.

Another thing you can do, which I just learned recently, is use Google Chrome as your default browser. Apparently - according to the computer geek who told me this - Chrome executes programs within a sandbox. It segments part of the hardrive, and when you click on that evil link, the program executes within that segment only, not allowing it to spill onto the whole harddrive. Then, your antivirus - who watched it fly by before it did anything, says crap, that was a virus, and can kill it because Chrome kept it out of the whole system - or say they say.

Well contrary to the myth that hackers only attack PC's, with the popularity of the iPad and iPhone and the Mac, focus is now turning to security exceptions in these operating systems. The more folks use these portable devices for banking and e-mail the more enticing these devices are to hackers. Just one security breach is all that's needed to open the gates to other internal security issues within an operation system. It's just a matter of time. 85% of security attacks are now coming from Asia and the number of attacks are growing daily.

Wireless security is excellent however 7 out of 10 WiFi administrators fail to correctly configure there networks to prevent leaching and hacking from outside network attacks. So you're wondering why you got the letter from Shaw about your excessive bandwidth use but you only downloaded two movies? You can't beat the security a pair of wires! For the non-tech savvy out there, leaching is stealing internet service from a WiFi source via your laptop or wireless device without the permission of the WiFi source. Old school it is the same as communication theft which is an indictable offence under the criminal code of Canada.

Securing your internet prowling is always a good idea, you don't need to have anything to hide other than your personal privacy and personal information. Erase those tracking cookies from your system once a week at the least to be safe, more often if you're a heavy internet addict. Gotta log on to sites to play games, alter your name spelling in your application for access just so you can tell if your information is being sold to mail list and phone list firms. Use a new password every couple of years and make it one you will remember, add numbers to your password for added security. You only need to ask your self one question when youre on the internet, do I really need to fill out this form??

Surf with a safety net, Enjoy the ride!
"Wireless security is excellent however 7 out of 10 WiFi administrators fail to correctly configure there networks to prevent leaching and hacking from outside network attacks."

Wifi can be hacked in minutes with the right software.

"Well contrary to the myth that hackers only attack PC's, with the popularity of the iPad and iPhone and the Mac, focus is now turning to security exceptions in these operating systems."

Yep just google iPhone hacked and car unlocked. If you link your car to your phone hackers can unlock your car.

Google Macbook batteries have been hacked.

So they aren't as secure as you think.
The only Time I use Windows is for my Taxes, otherwise Linux keeps me happy and Virus Free,15 Years and counting, but nothing is perfect you got to be on the lookout for the bad guys !
macs are great - for children and old people and folks who can't use a computer or are naive and click on everything that pops up.