Microsoft spots malware posing as police

The ransomware asks users to pay up for using dodgy web material, including porn and terrorist emails.


Microsoft has spotted various kinds of localised malware attempting to dupe users by posing as messages from police forces.

Otherwise known as ransomware, the malicious software renders computers unusable and then demands payment from the target if they want their machine to work again.

The malware authors in recent cases have posed as police authorities, including the UK's Met, asking users to pay a fine for purported use of illegal material, Microsoft explained.

In the unfortunate case that your computer is infected with this malware, don't even consider paying.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

The messages claim the user has accessed child pornography and emails "with terrorist background." Those who do pay do not get their computer fixed.

"In order to make the computer functional again, the user is asked to transfer money via a legitimate online payment service, such as Paysafecard or Ukash, to the supposed authorities," said Horea Coroiu, from the Microsoft Malware Protection Centre, in a blog post.

"A quite interesting fact is that the geographical distribution for most of the samples coincides well with the targeted countries. In the case of Trojan:Win32/Ransom.DU, which is a generic detection for a German-language variant of the ransomware that impersonates the German Federal Police, 91.59 per cent of the samples we received from July to November this year were found in Germany."

As for how the malware gets on machines, Microsoft found simple drive-by-downloads were to blame, with the Blackhole Exploit Kit used to infect systems.

Microsoft said several spam campaigns contained links to the exploit kit, some of which is generated by the notorious Cutwail botnet.

"The good news is that no zero-day exploits that we know of are involved, so keeping your software up to date will considerably reduce the likelihood of infection," Coroiu added.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"In the unfortunate case that your computer is infected with this malware, don't even consider paying. If you do so, your computer will not get unlocked anyway, so paying does not actually solve your computer problem."

Microsoft recently gifted IT departments one of the year's heftier Patch Tuesdays, covering 20 vulnerabilities.

Featured Resources

How inkjet can transform your business

Get more out of your business by investing in the right printing technology

Download now

Journey to a modern workplace with Office 365: which tools and when?

A guide to how Office 365 builds a modern workplace

Download now

Modernise and transform your sales organisation

Learn how a modernised sales process can drive your business

Download now

Your guide to managing cloud transformation risk

Realise the benefits. Mitigate the risks

Download now



How can you protect your business from crypto-ransomware?

4 Nov 2019

Hackers abuse LinkedIn DMs to plant malware

25 Feb 2019

Best free malware removal tools 2019

23 Dec 2019
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019

Most Popular


How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

5 Feb 2020
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft pulls disastrous Windows 10 security update

17 Feb 2020
operating systems

How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update

12 Feb 2020
Business operations

HP shareholders invited to come dine with Xerox

17 Feb 2020