Money-stealing computer virus poses as police message

Police in the United Kingdom have issued a warning to computer users not to fall for a money-stealing computer virus that impersonates... well, the police.

The UK Metropolitan Police said the virus impersonates its e-crime unit to steal money from unsuspecting users, according to a report on Computerworld UK.

"The malicious software infects people's computers after users access certain websites. The police did not name specific sites, and only said that 'various websites' were affected," Computerworld said.

According to the police, the virus freezes and locks the computer, and a message appears claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU).

The message accuses the user of accessing pornographic websites and tells them they have to pay a "fine" to unlock their computer.

People who have fallen for the scam and handed over money should report the matter to their card issuer immediately and report the offense to their local police.

Victims may call 101 or the local non-emergency police number.

Virus infections where no money has been lost can be logged at www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud.

"This is a fraud and users are advised not to pay out any monies or hand out any bank details. Genuine law enforcement agencies would never contact members of the public via this method and demand funds in this way," the police said.

A separate article on computer security firm Sophos' blog site said a poorly composed message informs the user his or her "process of illegal activity is deleted" and the computer is locked.

It claims to detect "forbidden websites containing pornography, child pornography, Sodomy and called violence against children."

"To release a lock your computer you should pay the fine in amount of £100. In the case of ignoring the payment, the program will remove illegal materials while keeping your personal information is not guaranteed," Sophos quoted the message.— TJD, GMA News

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