Armed bank robberies in broad day light is an old school of thought, where you put your life – or if you are lucky – freedom on the line for limited money that does not even persist for long. Now, with a computer and an internet connection you can steal enough money to buy an island without having to step out of your room. All you require is an ambition to become rich, a clever plan to fool people and some useful hacking skills; making you a millionaire in no time.
Malware brings creativity in money extortion
Lately, malware attacks are gaining momentum, depicting fearlessness and sophistication of hackers’ skills, which is evolving into an organized crime with time and practice. In a recent incident of scams, an online gangs are busy extorting money from citizens through a computer program that mimics online activities of Federal Bureau of Investigations or FBI. In the first week of August, the Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3 alerted the authorities on two online scams – the information included a fake political survey and new version of malware designed to extort money.
An FBI copy agent
Security researchers have uncovered a new computer program, called Reveton or ransomware, a master of deceive and disguise, designed to extort money from ignorant users, unaware of the purpose of this malicious program.
You are easily lured in by attractive offers and huge bargains advertised on different websites. Beware! In an attempt to save few bucks, you might lose some serious cash. These websites can be fake and you can automatically download Reveton ransomware once you visit the website. The websites are known as “drive-by” sites and are designed to download files without the user’s knowledge.
IC issued a press release, demonstrating the function of this computer spyware. As soon as the user installs malware, the computer instantly freezes, displaying a warning sign on the, saying they have violated the United States federal law, threatening that the user’s IP address has been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the similar fashion, the FBI issues warnings to users involved in federal crime, such as visiting websites that feature child pornography and other illegal content.
The extortion begins when the message demands the user to pay fine to the “US Department of Justice”, after proving them with the instructions for unlocking the computer. The message also provides payment instructions to the user.
Caution: Fake Political Surveys in the offing
Users of both the cell phones and computers need to be vigilant while answering political surveys, as a fake political survey scam is on the rise. The attackers follow a careful procedure – a call is made to victims’ cell phones from an organization allegedly conducting a political survey. On answering few questions asked by the caller – even wrong – the respondents are tempted with a free vacations package of a Caribbean cruise. In order to own their prize, victims are asked to pay the port charges, while they are encouraged to verify the legitimacy of the call by visiting a website and asked for their credit card information.
Such scams are also possible in mobile phones, especially smartphone. When a user accesses the website through their cell phone, there are high chances that the attacker injects cell phone spyware inside the device, extracting personal information.