The Regina Police Service has received reports from computer users who say their computers are being frozen or they have been “locked out” of their computers. This happens primarily after complainants receive pop-up messages warning them their computers have been associated with child pornography and illegal music downloading. These warning messages, which claim to come from the RCMP or other Canadian government agencies, tell recipients to pay $100 dollars via Ukash (a payment service provider) so their computers can be “unlocked”. These types of messages, known as ransomware, are scams designed to create shock and anxiety so that victims respond by sending money quickly. If you receive one of these messages, please be aware that:
- The ransomware is an attempt to defraud you.
- Sending money will not fix your computer – it will remain locked. DO NOT SEND MONEY.
- Neither police nor any Canadian government agency would hijack computers in order to obtain money. The ransomware presence is hard evidence that your computer has been infected by malicious software (malware) that must be dealt with.
- The recommended way to re-gain access to your computer is to seek the help of a computer technician who can remove the malware.
- To protect against cyber attacks, you must regularly update your software. You should have up-to-date anti-virus, spyware and firewall protection.
If you receive a ransomware message, please contact the Regina Police Service at 777-6500 and the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) to report it: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca