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Virus holds PC to ransom

A virus that seizes control of personal computer files and demands ransom money from the owner has been unleashed on the Internet. Victims of a “ransomware” attack are unable to get access to their hard drives unless they pay off the hackers. In some versions of the fraud, computer users are told to buy drugs from an online chemist in exchange for a password that will free their files. In others, they are instructed to transfer money to an overseas bank account to prevent the program wiping the files. The fraud emerged in the US last year and has now appeared in Britain. One of its first victims was Helen Barrow, a 40-year-old nurse from Littleborough, near Rochdale. She was distraught when she discovered that a folder, protected with a 30-digit password, had replaced her computer files. She also discovered a new file on her computer desktop named “INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO GET YOUR FILES BACK”. It told her she would be given the password to access her files if she bought drugs from an online pharm...

» Calcutta Telegraph - 02-06-2006

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