Computer Virus Scam in Northwest
Prince Rupert, B.C.- RCMP in Prince Rupert are sending out an advisory for all computer uses to be wary of opening files from unknown persons .For more than a month, RCMP have been trying to track the source of a malicious software which infected the computer system of a Prince Rupert company.
The coding which was identified as “CryptoWall 3.0” by the Microsoft Malware Protection Centre was embedded in the contents of an email titled “Resume Douglas Chandler.zip”. The complainant was unaware of the potential risk of opening the email, did so, and released the virus. As a result this virus infected all of the company’s databases causing all files to be encrypted.
The complainant then received a file titled “HELP_DECRYPT” which directed the user to a personal internet site that was hosted by an anonymous network explaining how the user could decrypt their files for a fee of $500.00 USD which was to be paid in “Bitcoins” (a decentralized digital currency) by the end of March. In the event the fee was not paid by the deadline, the cost to decrypt the files would double every 160 hours. As this appeared to be some form of internet scam the complainant contacted police.
Over the course of the investigation police coordinated with the Integrated Technological Crime Unit which determined there was no way to decrypt the files or remove the virus, prompting police to warn the public.
“As this virus appears to be very sophisticated and attacks computer databases the Prince Rupert RCMP want to warn the community of this incident” says Cst. Matt Ericson spokesman for the Prince Rupert RCMP Detachment. “In the event any community members or companies encounter similar circumstances pertaining to their computers we are asking users not to open the email or any associated programs, and to contact police.”
Anyone who may have information regarding this incident or any similar incidents is asked to contact the Prince Rupert RCMP Detachment at 250-627-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).