PSNI hacker alert amid global FBI hunt

Published Wednesday, 04 June 2014
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The police are warning the public to be aware and to protect themselves from powerful computer programmes which have swept the globe and fraudulently raked in hundreds of millions of pounds for its creators.

PSNI hacker alert amid global FBI hunt
The scam has been reported across the world. (© Getty)

The FBI is leading a major worldwide hunt - thought to be one of the largest law enforcement operations of its kind - to track down those responsible for the malicious software, or malware, known as GOZeuS, and CryptLocker.

The rogue programmes silently install themselves onto users' computers and monitor activity in order to steal important financial information in order to raid bank accounts.

They are thought to gain access by appearing to look like attachments or links from genuine contacts, who have already had their computers compromised.

There have been reports that, once information is obtained, users are offered a "discounted ransom" of between £200 and £300 in order to have their information returned and discarded by the malicious programme.

The National Crime Agency believes around 15,000 computers could have been attacked already in the UK, potentially costing millions and has warned people they have two weeks to protect their systems.

It is urging people to ensure their computer's operating system and anti-virus software are up-to-date.

The PSNI has joined forces with the non-profit awareness campaign organisation Get Safe Online to encourage the public and businesses to protect their sensitive information and back-up important files.

A spokesman said: "Members of the public can protect themselves by making sure security software is installed and updated, by running scans and checking that computer operating systems and applications are up to date.

"Individuals may receive notifications from their internet service providers that they are a victim of this malware and are advised to back up all important information - such as files, photography and videos.

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"Businesses should also test their incident responses and business resilience protocols and work with their IT departments or suppliers to educate employees on the potential threat."
© UTV News
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5 Comments
Caolan in Belfast wrote (140 days ago):
You're exactly right, this virus has been around for years. I myself have had a similar case where my computer was locked out and very shoddy looking blocker page came up from the Lancashire Police saying thay I had to pay them £500 or they would investigate my hard drive for beastiality. I couldnt help but laugh. Took me ten minutes to get rid of it. My point is that yes, viruses like these exist, but as you said yourself it is scare mongering, and its justification for what the NSA is doing. There's absolutely no reason to panic about this at all, and yet the FBI wants us to panic. Its like what they said about Iraq's WMDs. Im definitely not a conspiracy theorist, forgive me if I just dont believe everything the American government and Federal Bureau feed me.
Adrian in Belfast wrote (140 days ago):
GOZeus or EndGame Zeus is a new variant of a very popular and long known banking trojan called Zeus. CryptLocker is ransomware that encrypts your files and demand 1 bitcoin for the encryption key to get your files back. Both are real and well known for some time, not some conspiracy. Neither of them are a 'virus' and both are able to infect unpatched systems. Whilst the mainstream media like to scaremonger both of these pieces of malware have already stolen millions. Do a little research next time before claiming conspiracy Caolan!
Colum in Newry wrote (140 days ago):
Well Said Caolan. No doubt a haul of new laws will be drawn up to wipe out any freedom left of the internet. Tons of viruses have been made every single day since the dawn of the internet. This is nothing new. The NSA is the enemey
marty in omagh wrote (140 days ago):
@caolan its a very real threat, i found out about this a few months back and it is a true system lock virus, it is one one the smartest viruses i have seen, im a pc tech and these guys who are doing it must be smart cookies...
Caolan in Belfast wrote (141 days ago):
I would personally like to see anybody come forward and say that they have been affected by this virus. I doubt it does anything that the FBI says. Its jut an excuse the Americans are coming up with to try to justify what the NSA is doing with the internet, looking at everyone's personal files and pictures and home videos and messages. This "hacker group" is capable of designing a "super virus" infecting millions of computers, something that the Americans actually did when they attacked Iran's nuclear plant and that virus leaked online infecting millions. Obviously they are allowed to do it because for some reason everyone thinks the internet belings to America when it is more like International Waters. These hackers create a super virus but somehow are incapable of hiding themselves online and have been apprehended by the FBI? I'm very doubtful. More justification for all our privacy and our home computers being invaded.
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