The UK National Crime Agency said that users have just two weeks to protect their computers from a sophisticated and malicious software. The virus, known as GameOver Zeus, has been stealing personal and financial data from people all over the world.
The virus targets small-scale businesses and private individuals. Over 15,000 computers in the UK alone are thought to be affected already.
Gameover Zeus can capture a computer user’s banking information. It can also install a malware ‘ Cryptolocker’ programme that accesses and encrypts personal files. The virus then demands a payment to unlock the files.
The NCA and the FBI have secured a two week window, blocking the virus to allow the public to protect their computers.
It is recommended that users ensure that they have security software installed, and that it is up to date. Security scans should be run and people should make sure that their computer’s operating system is up to date. Important documents and files should be backed up on an external source.
The virus can be transmitted through phishing emails that contain links to fake websites. Users should be vigilant to emails from contacts that appear suspicious and contain links or attachments.
The NCA say that criminals will take advantage of the widespread panic caused by Gameover Zeus. The criminals may send out emails that claim to be warnings from Internet Service Providers or a law enforcement agency. These emails could lure users to click on malicious links.
The FBI have identified a gang of cyber criminals based in Russia and the Ukraine who are responsible for the development and operation of both the GameOver Zeus and Cryptolocker schemes.
Free security software is available on the NCA website at http://www.getsafeonline.org/ncaTags: