Tens of thousands of Europeans have paid ‘ransom’ after their computers were infected with ransomware that appeared to be from the police. Europol’s European Cybercrime Center estimates this in the threat analysis it released on Tuesday.
According to the European Cybercrime Centre, the use of malware has increased significantly in the last two years and millions of computers have been infected in the EU. In addition, the organization points to the rise of ransomware. In addition, the malware sometimes encrypts the user’s files and has to pay a ‘ransom’ to regain access to the data. Versions regularly appear that show a warning window stating that a user has committed illegal acts, such as visiting a website with child pornography or downloading illegal content. In addition, a logo of the police is often displayed.
Interpol’s research department estimates that tens of thousands of Europeans affected by ransomware have paid money to cybercriminals. According to Interpol, the use of ransomware has now become a multimillion-dollar business. Not only would it become easier to manufacture the malware due to the rise of do-it-yourself packages, the chance of being caught would also be small. Interpol argues that this is the result of the fragmented approach in the various jurisdictions.
In order to reverse the trend, cooperation and information exchange between investigative authorities and the business community must be promoted in the fight against this form of computer crime, Interpol believes. Internet users should also receive better information about prevention, the dangers of malware and how to act in the event of an infection.