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Scamming the Violators

April 16th, 2010 · No Comments

A new type of malware is infecting computers who use file sharing sites and applications that publishes the user’s net history on a public website before demanding a fee for its removal. This trojan demands a ransom for a supposed copyright violation. This ransom is to be used to avert legal action and/or criminal penalties. Once the victim ‘pays’ for this ’service’, his/her credit card details are instead stolen and passed on to credit card fraudster networks.

The Japanese trojan virus installs itself on computers using a popular file-share service called Winni, used by up to 200m people.

It targets those downloading illegal copies of games in the Hentai genre, an explicit form of anime.

The website Yomiuri claims that 5500 people have so far admitted to being infected.

What starts out looking as a very ordinary game installation, a screen soon requests the computer owner’s personal details – this is where the trouble begins.

The trojan then takes screenshots of the user’s web history and publishes these screenshots online in their name. Then the trojan either sends the victim an e-mail or launches a pop-up screen demanding a credit card payment of 1500 yen (£10) to “settle your violation of copyright law” and remove the webpage.

Ransomware

The website that the history is published on is owned by a shell company called Romancing Inc. It is registered to a fictitious individual called Shoen Overns and is a known name with investigators who have seen it before with the “Zeus” and “Koobface” trojans.

Kenzero is similar to previously seen ransomware, that infects a computer and encrypts the documents, pictures and other media stored upon it, then demands the payment of a fee for a decryption key.

Similar Incidents In Europe

A fictitious organization calling itself the ICPP copyright foundation issues threatening pop-ups and letters after a virus searches the computer hard drive for illegal content – regardless of whether it actually finds anything. Much like anti-virus rogue-ware.

This scam offers a “pretrial settlement” fine of $400 (£258) payable by credit card, and warns of costly court cases and even jail sentences if the victim ignores the notice.

As above, rather than take the money, the outfit sells on the credit card details to credit card fraud crime rings.

Lessons:

  • If you encounter pop-ups demanding payment in order to settle copyright infringement lawsuits or liability, ignore them and use a free online anti-malware scanner immediately to check for malware. If you were in danger of a copyright lawsuit, a lawyer would be sending you official correspondence.
  • Do not steal intellectual property! If you want some content from the Internet, pay for it from a reputable site!

Tags: EU Countries & Overviews

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