Cyber criminals are constantly devising new types of malware to commit financial theft, fraud, identity theft and other crimes against ordinary people. The proceeds of their crime are also used to fund further organised crime. This latest threat is particularly insidious as it uses two different types of malware to infect your computer in order to commit these crimes:
1. A virus known as Gameover Zeus, GOZeus, or P2PZeus
This is a type of aggressive malware which infects your computer so that it can effectively be ‘taken over’ by the criminals. It can be used for a number of different criminal activities such as viewing your files, monitoring your bank accounts, sending emails in your name and even using your webcam to physically spy on you.
2. Ransomware known as CryptoLocker
CryptoLocker is a virus which criminals use to prevent you opening any files – effectively locking down your PC – before issuing you with a ransom demand. If you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that it will be unlocked. Once your computer is locked, it is effectively rendered useless as you cannot access your email, files, photos, music or bookmarks.
How computers get infected
You probably receive many emails claiming to be from your or another bank, a government body or other official source, urging you to check your account, claim a refund or other action. Many of these are phishing emails containing links to bogus websites, or attachments which you are told to open, which actually contain malware hidden in what is known as a Trojan. In this case, the criminals have also stolen or hacked email lists and can make it make it appear as if these are spam emails coming from a friend’s email account.
In this particular attack, the act of opening the attachment in such an email automatically ‘tells’ the Trojan to download the Gameover Zeus and CryptoLocker from a server normally located abroad, of which there are thousands which exist purely for criminal purposes.