Online Bank Heist in Broad Daylight

Online Bank Heist in Broad Daylight

By Marty Algire for

Ransom is a particularly blunt way to make money: if I give you the money you demand, you give me back what you took from me illegally. Ransom is simple, and extremely unfair.

On the Internet, viruses that hold their victims ransom are like a brazen bank heist at noon compared to other viruses. The Zero-Access rootkit is known for click fraud and bitcoin mining. Click fraud and bitcoin mining are complex endeavors, and the victim is not directly financially impacted. The Reveton virus by comparison steals control of your computer, and won’t give it back until you pay up.

Reveton and its branded offspring: FBI MoneyPak, Canadian Security Intelligence Service UKash, Metropolitan Police Ukash, and Police National E-Crime Unit UKash, have been stealing control and extorting fees at an alarming rate in 2012. Researchers report cyber-criminals making as much as 33K per day, with 3 out of every 100 victims paying the ransom fee.

The most prevalent ransom virus takes complete control of the victim’s computer, and displays a full screen message claiming to be from local law enforcement. For example, infected computers in the U.S. will display a message purporting to be from the FBI.

The scam claims the user has viewed or downloaded copyrighted or illicit material and must pay a fine in order to have their computer restored, or face arrest.

You do not need advanced techniques or technology to determine if you are infected with a ransom virus. Its message will be jammed front and center on your computer screen. If you see the message, you have the virus.

Once your PC is infected the removal can be difficult because the virus has seized complete control of your PC and you can’t run programs to remove the virus.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends cleaning an infected computer with a “trusted bootable USB”. There are several high quality free guides on how to remove specific types of ransomware available on the Internet, including “3 Easy ways to remove any Police Ukash or MoneyPak virus” that provides step by step instruction on how to make your own bootable CD or USB. If assembling a bootable USB with an anti-virus system set up on it seems too technically difficult, the FixMeStick is an extremely easy to use and ready to go solution.

This excerpt appears with permission from

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3 thoughts on “Online Bank Heist in Broad Daylight”

  1. This happened just last week to my laptop. And nothing I did would let me regain a useable screen from which to attack the virus – NOTHING! With computer experience starting with the Commodore 64, I was embarrassed and getting desperate, ready to call a local PC shop for help. Fortunately I was able to use my desktop to find Kaspersky’s boot software to quite easily build a USB Rescue Stick for FREE and get my laptop “back”. I now keep the USB stick with me at all times. Thanks loads Kaspersky!

  2. I got this about six months ago, while just browsing. I was lucky enough to just shut off the computer (cold boot)and start in safe mode. I ran Malwarebytes (free version)and that fixed it. Just lucky, I guess.

  3. crazy…can you imagine your mom or dad or Grandfather or Grandmother (someone who isn't "in the know" about these scams") getting this!

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