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LONDON (AP) ? British officials issued an unusually stark alert about a cyberscam that locks users out of their computers unless they pay a ransom, saying Friday that tens of millions of people may soon be targeted.

In a warning headlined "URGENT ALERT," Britain's National Crime Agency said they were aware of a "mass email spamming event that is ongoing" and urged computer users to beware of messages purporting to come from their bank.

Tony Neate, the chief executive of British Internet safety group GetSafeOnline, said it was noteworthy that the agency ? often described as Britain's equivalent of the FBI ? had sent out such a strongly worded alert about a cyberscam.

"They're only going to do it if they think it is serious," he said in a telephone interview.

The scam targeting Britons works by tricking people into downloading CryptoLocker, a new brand of malicious software that encrypts a user's hard drive, effectively putting their photos, documents, and other data under lock and key.

A 72-hour countdown clock appears on the screen warning that the files will be lost irrevocably unless a ransom is paid, either through Bitcoin ? a tough-to-trace cybercurrency ? or MoneyPak cash cards. Ransoms tend to be $100 or $300, according to BleepingComputer, a security website that has closely tracked CryptoLocker's spread.

Users who've paid the ransom have reported that their files are decrypted within a few hours, but Britain's crime agency warned that it did not endorse the payment of ransoms to criminals and warned that "there is no guarantee that they would honor the payments in any event."

source

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saw this on bbc ... actually it would be interesting to hear people's views on using online banking or not ... not everyone has it, some stay away from it due to fears of security, etc ...

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saw this on bbc ... actually it would be interesting to hear people's views on using online banking or not ... not everyone has it, some stay away from it due to fears of security, etc ...

I'm one of the ones who did stay away from it, partly as no system is 100% foolproof, and partly as I try to maintain a small online footprint

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here too .... never used online banking and wont be.

 

I did notice in the usual spam this week an increase in emails purporting to be from certain banks (which I dont use anyway) .. all comes in the junk folder though ... so never touch it.

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I love those, I think to myself, good to know that a bank I don't use has my security concerns at heart, right until I click the empty junk folder button lol

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*statement withdrawn*

the hit on me was browser based in firefox, killed the firefox.exe and scanned, nothing shown

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saw this on bbc ... actually it would be interesting to hear people's views on using online banking or not ... not everyone has it, some stay away from it due to fears of security, etc ...

 

I'm not in the UK, obviously, but I do bank online. I use Linux but no system is completely safe.

 

The safe way to bank online:

 

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/10/avoid_windows_malware_bank_on.html

 

http://lifehacker.com/5381466/use-a-linux-live-cdusb-for-online-banking

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