Malware Scammers Scare Europeans Into Paying Fake Copyright Infringement Fines

Brad Chacos

Some of the ways scammers part fools and their money sure are deviously ingenuitive. A new variation of scareware is making the rounds in Europe, but rather than sticking to the age-old "Your computer is infected, buy this antivirus program now!" trope, this malware claims that the government is locking down your PC until you pay a fine for downloading music illegally.

As told by Roman Hussy on the abuse.ch blog (and reported by PC World ), the scareware locks the users out of their computers and pops up an official-looking splash page littered with logos from local police and royalty collection groups (the equivalent of the RIAA), such as the Performing Right Society and the Metropolitan Police in the U.K.-based screenshot above.

The malware claims that your computer will remain useless until you pay a £50 fine (that's $80 to U.S. folks) through the web page using a prepaid Paysafecard. Don't know where to pick up a Paysafecard? The malware even helpfully points out local sellers.

Of course, you're not off the hook even after making a payment -- Hussy says a component of the program can also steal banking credentials and participate in DDoS attacks.

Some malware author's been paying attention to recent headlines -- late last month, the makers of the movie "The Hurt Locker" sued yet another 2,514 anonymous BitTorrent users for illegally downloading the film.

Image credit: abuse.ch

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