New Spam Campaign Delivers Ransomware

eMail spamSecurity researchers have detected a new spam campaign with ransomware as its payload. The messages, made to look like notifications from FedEx or UPS, include attachments claiming to be invoices or manifests. If the recipient clicks on them, it immediately downloads the malware. The virus scans the hard drive and encrypts all documents, presentations, videos and photos, and locks down the computer when the user tries to use it. They are presented with a screen telling them they have 100 hours to pay $300. Upon receipt of payment, the files are unencrypted. If they refuse to pay, after the 100 hours are up, all data on the computer is permanently destroyed. Payment is only accepted via BitCoins or Green Dot Moneypak to keep the criminals anonymous. So far at least 500 infections a day are being reported-and who knows how many people who got infected have been too embarrassed to do so?

A similar variant has a scareware twist. An infected user is presented with a fake FBI screen claiming child porn has been found on their computer and as a result the agency has locked it down until they pay a “fine” of about $300-$400. This one may be particularly effective because of the scare it gives the recipients. They may panic enough to hand over the money without thinking.

So far most of the infections have been reported in India and Asia, but there have been numerous reports of the fake FBI variant here in the U.S, and sadly, as long as there are people who insist on carelessly clicking links without thinking or checking them out first, malicious attacks like this will continue.

Written by Sue Walsh


  1. Kaley · October 30, 2013

    This is outrageous! And it is definitely scary! $300 to $400 is a lot of money! And losing all the data in your computer is no joke! Wow, these spammers may be big time ones. They are also quite brave; using the FBI for their scam is definitely not child’s play. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that there’s something fishy going on in these spammers’ mind. But spammers are really fishy by nature, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised anymore!…It’s time our government and private institutions beef up anti-spam technology to match these spammers’ advanced one!

  2. Dominic · October 30, 2013

    I haven’t really experienced this, but I wonder if this is really true, that a malware has the power or the capacity to wipe out everything that is found in the PC. If it is, then it is indeed scary. I wonder if there is already a system that can detect links that can possibly lead to ransomware.

  3. Cass · October 31, 2013

    I guess those who actually had child porn on their computer must have been really scared. :) Cyber criminals are such good pshychologists – they masterfully exploit human weaknesses, such as greed, stupidity, etc. Otherwise, if you have a backup copy of your files, the ransomeware thing isn’t that scary. You might have to reinstall your Windows or any other operating system you are using but if you have a backup, at least your files are safe.

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