The Dryden Observer

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Police warn of computer virus/fraud

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

By Jon Thompson

Police are warning citizens over a combined computer virus and Internet scam that has struck some Dryden residents.

When it strikes a computer, the virus exhibits the logo of the RCMP, informing users they have violated copyright infringement or downloaded illegal pornography. It details the applicable money-wiring businesses users should use to pay their fine of $100 within 72 hours or risk being imprisoned from one to nine years or face a fine of up to $250,000.

“It’s not even mine. A friend of mine gave it to me to put anti-virus software on it,” said Chris Sidney, who was impacted by the scam. It then inserted a virus on the computer, eating more files the longer the machine is left running.

“I don’t want any of my friends or family to get nailed by this so I want to get the word out so they don’t get hit by this or scammed by this guy and pay the $100.”

OPP Sgt. Michelle Peeple said local police has received a couple of calls and stressed users should not pay any fine to law enforcement that is expressed online.

“Rarely are we able to track them down. A lot of times, they’re out of province or overseas or out of the country,” she said. “The RCMP are warning of this and basically, don’t pay the fake fine that pops up. It sounds like you’re going to have to use that money to get your computer cleaned up.”

Local computer repair shop, Apatco Technologies has received a small volume of computers that have been infected with the virus that accompanies the scam. Apatco’s Morris Soulliere recommended being conscious when visiting websites and vigilance when it comes to junk email.

“Some of them are easy, depending on if someone can shut down their computer fast enough and not reload it. It affects almost every file there is and that would mean a complete OS install. I’d say 60 to 70 per cent of the time, I can get rid of it and it’s good to go.”

One thought on “Police warn of computer virus/fraud

  1. The one we have been warned about here is called “ransom ware”, targeting small businesses. They troll the internet and look for target businesses and spend three days more or less using what they call “brute force” software to breach the security system. Once breached, they encrypt the hard drive and basically lock the user out and hold them to ransom. The only defence seems to be to have a backup and wipe all the drives and start again with the backup drive. The Antivirus companies do not have a solution for it either which makes it all the more potent. BTW the news article here said that a business here paid 3 000 AUD to an account in China, but they warn of other countries as well.
    I have found one way on the internet to thwart these decrepit people, and that is to enable encryption on your computer and enter an encryption code. You do not have to encrypt anything, you just have to use the encryption software to lock the “ransom ware” hackers out. If they do not have your encryption code they are effectively stuck with just a stupid ransom banner on your screen, which you can get rid of with a system restore.
    Have a nice day. 🙂

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