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    Powerful computer virus could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight...

    This is a discussion on Powerful computer virus could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight... within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; 'Gameover Zeus' computer virus 'could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight' | Mail Online Powerful computer virus could start ...

    1. #1
      Scubbie's Avatar
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      Exclamation Powerful computer virus could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight...

      'Gameover Zeus' computer virus 'could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight' | Mail Online
      Powerful computer virus could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight unless Britons protect against attack now, National Crime Agency warns


      • More than 15,000 in the UK may already be infected by 'Gameover Zeus'
      • The virus could cost the British economy millions, experts warn
      • The software can also lock computers and demand a ransom to unlock


      Computer users were last night warned to take urgent action to protect themselves from a global cyber virus pandemic.

      Police across the globe launched an unprecedented attack on high-tech criminals behind software causing misery to millions.

      The computers of more than 15,000 people in the UK are already infected with a virus that could cost our economy ‘millions’, the National Crime Agency (NCA) warned.

      But the grip of those behind the so-called ‘malware’ has been weakened by a counter attack on the servers which control the software.

      Computer experts said computer users must install anti-virus software and update their operating systems to the latest versions to stop it regaining its hold.

      Those who fail to do so risk having their valuable data, including precious photographs, music and personal files held to ransom.

      In the worst cases, victims could lose access to their bank accounts which could be systematically drained by the criminal network.

      The software, called Gameover Zeus, has spread worldwide but has been temporarily disabled by the international effort by law enforcement agencies.

      Potential victims can protect themselves but have only a short time to do so before the hackers can rebuild their network.

      The international effort by forces including the NCA, Interpol and Europol, targeted the ‘command and control’ servers behind the virus.

      Hackers will be able to install new ones, but it is thought that there will be a window of opportunity of at least two weeks for computer users to protect themselves.

      Many of those whose computers have already been infected will be contacted by their internet service providers.

      The software installs itself on a computer when the victim clicks on a link in an unsolicited email or via a website.

      It then sends out more emails to lure further victims, without the knowledge of the computer users, and spreads quickly across the internet.

      The virus lays dormant until it spots an opportunity to steal personal details such as online banking information and passwords.

      It then transmits this information back to the criminal network who use it to drain the victim’s accounts.

      In a further twist, if the user is not a ‘viable’ victim then the software locks the information on the computer and holds it to ransom.

      At the moment the software demands one Bitcoin, an untraceable form of online currency favoured by criminals, which is around £300.

      The U.S. Government admitted that at least one police force has been forced to pay this ransom to release sensitive files.

      Last night, the U.S. Justice Department filed papers accusing a Russian named Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev as being the leader of the gang behind the software.

      The complaint claims the software has been responsible for the loss of more than $100m from individuals and a string of major companies.

      Andy Archibald, of the NCA, 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.

      ‘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.’

      Computer users who fear they could fall victim to the virus are advised to install anti-virus software and ensure their operating system has the latest security updates.

      It is thought that the gang first check if a target’s keyboard is in Russian and only strike if it is another language.

      Eunice Power is one British victim who has been blackmailed by the cyber criminals.

      After corrupting files on her computer, the gang offered to fix the problem for several hundred pounds.

      <Video>

      HOW USERS CAN PROTECT THEIR COMPUTERS AGAINST MALWARE ZEUS

      Potential victims can protect themselves but have only a short time to do so before the hackers - whose attempts have been temporarily thwarted - can rebuild their network.

      The US Department of Homeland Security urged users to install anti-virus software on their computer and ensure that the latest operating systems were also installed on their computers.

      If systems do not offer automatic updates, people should enable it, the department said.

      It also advised changing passwords, as original passwords may have been compromised during the infection.

      The National Crime Agency advised computer users to consult the Government-backed getsafeonline.org website.

      From that website, computer users can download tailored anti-virus software which has been provided for free by eight companies.

      Symantec also advised computer users to review all their bank and credit card statements for irregularities.

      It also advised being cautious when handling unsolicited or unexpected emails, particularly during the two-week window before hackers rebuild their network.

      Experts have also warned users to back-up all valuable data.

      Many of those whose computers have already been infected will be contacted by their internet service providers.
      Miss Power, a chef who runs a business from home, told Channel 4 News: ‘I could actually feel perspiration coming out through me.

      ‘I lost everything: family photographs, recipes, payroll, my accounts package. It was devastating.’

      The attack was so complex that an external storage unit that was connected to the computer at the time was targeted by the gang, preventing Miss Power from accessing it.

      AEV Ltd, a varnish factory in Birkenhead, was hit with ‘utter disaster’ when the criminals hacked into the company’s bank account to fake two payments costing £100,000.

      The criminals created two fake payment pages and tricked an employee of the company into authorising them.

      Managing director Jonathan Kemp said: ‘It started out as a normal day and ultimately by the afternoon in a period of three minutes we were £100,000 down.’

      Although the company was refunded by the bank, Mr Kemp said he spoke to other companies who had been hit by the scam, accumulating their losses at £3.5 million.

      Stewart Garrick, from the National Cyber Crime Unit, said that solicitor firms, police stations in America and academic institutions had been targeted.

      Charlie McMurdie, former head of the national ecrime unit, described the threat as a ‘cyber plague’ and warned that it could also be used to target mobile phones.

      She said: ‘Once one of these plagues is released everybody will pick up on it, adapt it and people around the world will be using these sorts of virus to carry out crime.

      ‘It’s not just computers, this kind of malware is now being hitting our mobile phones.’

      ‘It can have a significant impact on individuals and companies.’

      She said that the virus ‘had been known about for a long period of time’ and said that warnings about the virus had been issued over the last few months.

      Important reminder: Windows XP is no longer being supported with regards to security updates. There is a hack for Windows XP that allows it to access updates for Server 2003 and other updates for Windows products but the advise is not to download and install these as they could be dangerous for the XP OS.

      Whilst the implications are that nasties such as what is being described in this post are normally for the M$ Windows environment, nasties are available for ALL Operating Systems, including you phones and tablets.

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    4. #2
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      Re: Powerful computer virus could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight...

      Mmmmm A news report on the tele this morning implied that the person that lost loads of money got infected by opening an email attachment, then proceeded to fill in bank details into pop ups that started appeared.
      Isn't that breaking one of the golden rules of thumb! Don't enter bank details when requested by email or anything else. Always check the web address to make sure you are on the genuine bank web site.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Mmmmm A news report on the tele this morning implied that the person that lost loads of money got infected by opening an email attachment, then proceeded to fill in bank details into pop ups that started appeared.
      Isn't that breaking one of the golden rules of thumb! Don't enter bank details when requested by email or anything else. Always check the web address to make sure you are on the genuine bank web site.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Mmmmm A news report on the tele this morning implied that the person that lost loads of money got infected by opening an email attachment, then proceeded to fill in bank details into pop ups that started appeared.
      Isn't that breaking one of the golden rules of thumb! Don't enter bank details when requested by email or anything else. Always check the web address to make sure you are on the genuine bank web site.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Mmmmm A news report on the tele this morning implied that the person that lost loads of money got infected by opening an email attachment, then proceeded to fill in bank details into pop ups that started appeared.
      Isn't that breaking one of the golden rules of thumb! Don't enter bank details when requested by email or anything else. Always check the web address to make sure you are on the genuine bank web site.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Also looks like this web site has major issues as well! Lol.
      Account violation message when replying to posts now as well as the previous PM message violation message.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Also looks like this web site has major issues as well! Lol.
      Account violation message when replying to posts now as well as the previous PM message violation message.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Also looks like this web site has major issues as well! Lol.
      Account violation message when replying to posts now as well as the previous PM message violation message.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Also looks like this web site has major issues as well! Lol.
      Account violation message when replying to posts now as well as the previous PM message violation message.

    5. #3
      Scubbie's Avatar
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      Re: Powerful computer virus could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight...

      I totally agree with you about the silly point of opening emails and clicking on their unsolicited links. Just DON'T do it!!

      These people have been hi-jacking computers for at least a couple of years now and ransoming people to let them gain access to their files once more.

      The current advice is to ensure that all your software is updated. This includes the OS, anti-malware, anti-virus, firewalls, word processor, video editing software and literally everything else.

      As for clicking links, I think the best advise there is "Engage Brain First".

      As for the Forum issues, Ged has already been notified. Hopefully he can fix it this evening.

      PlusNet Fibre since Jan 2021
      Previously Sky Fibre & Sky BB since 2010.

     

     

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