Ransomware Scam Uses Browser History to Dupe You

Dennis Faas's picture

The only thing worse than a ransomware scam is an informed ransomware scam. According to reports, a new scheme uses a victim's browsing history to construct more believable threats.

Ransomware is malicious software designed to scare Internet users into paying hackers cash.

Ransomware creators achieve this goal by using special software that, once installed, disables critical system functions. The ransomware scammer then tells a victim that, in order to reclaim control of their PC, they must pay up.

Beware Messages From DoJ, DHS, FBI

A new ransomware scam involves sending victims a fake message supposedly authored by the United States Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, or Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Source: times-standard.com)

These messages claim that a victim's computer has been used to access illegal content. In response, the government agency has decided to disable critical system functions on the targeted computer.

Here's what sets this scam apart from the others: in order to make the scam more believable, the scammers use a victim's browser history to show actual websites visited by the victim. They victim is then told that this is where they acquired the illegal content.

The fake message may also list a victim's IP address, lending further credibility to the scammers' claims.

Police-Themed Scams on the Rise

Scams like this are becoming increasingly profitable and popular. According to Kaspersky Lab expert Sergey Golovanov, the number of police-themed ransomware infections has doubled since the beginning of 2013.

Golovanov reminds Internet users to never reply to these kinds of messages.

"What you need to do is go to another computer and start searching for a solution, which you will always be able to find on the Internet," Golovanov said. "All antivirus companies post free instructions and utilities to help users unblock their computers." (Source: pcworld.com)

"In the worst-case scenario, if you are faced with a unique blocker, you can always address the specialized forums of antivirus companies or contact tech support for expert advice and solutions," Golavanov added.

"Of course, this could take some time, but the key thing is not to pay up and fund this extortion."

Rate this article: 
No votes yet