June 2nd 2014
Thousands of personal and business PCs already infected.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) and Get Safe Online are today urging the public and small businesses to protect themselves against a powerful type of malicious software (malware) that has hit the UK and could cost computer users millions of pounds. To combat the threat, action taken by the NCA against the cyber criminals has created a brief window of opportunity to get you to protect your money and information.
The NCA’s alert is part of one of the largest industry and law enforcement collaborations to date. Activity in ten countries has weakened the global network of computers infected with two distinct, but associated forms of malware known as Gameover Zeus and CryptoLocker.
Gameover Zeus (also known as GOZeus and P2PZeus) has been assessed as being responsible for the fraudulent transfer of hundreds of millions of pounds globally. Recent intelligence has suggested that more than 15,500 computers in the UK are currently infected, with many more potentially at risk.
By disrupting the system used by the infected computers to communicate with each other, and the criminals controlling them, the activity by the NCA and its global law enforcement partners aims to significantly reduce the malware’s effectiveness.
We urge you to protect yourself by making sure internet security software is installed and updated, by running scans and checking that your computer operating systems and software programs are up to date. You should also back up all important information such as files, photos and video in case your PC is locked by CryptoLocker, which encrypts all your files and renders your machine unusable until you pay a ransom – probably hundreds of pounds. 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.
You may receive a notification from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) that you are a victim of this malware. If you do, it means that you definitely have a problem, but it may not be too late to do something about it.
Please click here to access our free advice, guidance and tools on this website to help you understand more about the malicious software and how to protect yourself and your computer from further attacks.
Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals. By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them.” Mr Archibald continues: “Those committing cybercrime impacting the UK are often highly-skilled and operating from abroad. The NCA and its partners are alive to the threat, and pursuing new and collaborative ways to tackle and disrupt the perpetrators.”
Tony Neate, our CEO here at Get Safe Online, also commented: “Whether you find online security complicated or confusing, or simply haven’t thought about keeping your personal or office computers safe for a while, now is the time to take action. Our message is simple: update your operating system and make this a regular occurrence, update your security software and use it and, think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.”
If you think you have lost money through malware such as Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker, you should report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.