The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)
, part of DHS’s National Cyber Security Division, issued an alert announcing a new effort by cyber criminals to spread Malware that impersonates Federal law enforcement and other government agencies.
US-CERT states that it “is aware of multiple malware campaigns impersonating multiple U.S. government agencies, including the United States Cyber Command and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The malware, malicious software that installs itself on a users computer without a users permission or knowledge, “displays a screen claiming that a Federal Government agency has identified the user’s computer as being associated with one of more crimes,” reports the US-CERT alert. Explaining further, the malware then instructs the victim “to pay a fine to regain the use of the computer, usually through prepaid money card services.”
The appearance of the message displayed on a users screen is intended to seem like a legitimate and official looking warning from the FBI or US Cyber Command. In turn, the impersonation effort by the cyber criminals seeks to leverage this to scare victims into paying the so-called fine immediately.
“Affected users should not follow the payment instructions,” US-CERT recommends, adding, “Users may also choose to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.”
In May of this year, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center released its Internet Crime Report for 2011, which summarized trends and outlined cyber criminal activities. The report stated that 2011 “marked the third year in a row that it received over 300,000 complaints, a 3.4-percent increase over the previous year.” One of the most common scams included criminals posing as the FBI in order to defraud and swindle innocent victims.
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