Tuesday 10 July 2012

I’ve Been Visiting Illegal Websites!

Actually, I’ve not but I do have a warning for you.  Not so long ago I wrote a tongue-in-cheek reflection on a putative zombie apocalypse.  Now I want to alert people to a genuine contagion, a potential threat to all computer users.  I can speak personally about this because it hit me recently, causing an hour or two of anxiety.  My remarks are specifically addressed to people outside Europe, where the threat, I believe, has not yet appeared.  North America looks likely to be the next target.  

Anyway, it’s a virus that came to England from the Continent, where it first appeared in Germany, affecting Windows users.  It purports to be a notice from the police, appearing right across your screen, saying that because you have been detected visiting illegal sites your computer has been locked.  And, my goodness, it has; all files and icons have disappeared.  Even ctrl alt delete does not work.  The notice proceeds with a warning that unless one pays £100 fine ($130) within twenty four hours then one’s computer will be wiped clean. 

Mine supposedly came from London’s Metropolitan Police Force.  I now know that the scam (other forces are mentioned also) is called the Metropolitan Police Ukash virus.  I was worried but not at all phased. For one thing, I don’t visit illegal or pornographic sites, and for another, this is little more than demanding money with menaces, a practice clearly at variance with all legal and police procedure.  Apart from that the wording and grammar is atrocious! 

However, I understand that a lot of people, visiting porno sites or not, have been seriously unsettled by this, the very idea that the police had such power.  In fact it’s a just a parcel of creepy cyber crooks.  The police themselves are aware of this.  The Met issued its own warning, advising people not to reveal details of their bank accounts. 

As I say, my PC was infected by this Trojan.  Fortunately I also have a lap top and was able to carry out a spot of research.  I linked up with some other users who had been similarly affected, managing to find a solution suited to my own particular problem, once I worked my way through a lot of technical jargon!  The solution seems to be different in each case.  I have Windows7 and for me at least it was relatively simple, though I note that other users seemed to be in deeper crisis. 

I should add that the Trojan managed to get round my existing anti-virus protection, which is a slight concern.  The bigger one is over exactly where this nuisance came from.  I’m always careful.  In future I shall be even more so.   Criminals are imaginative.  It’s up to us to be even more imaginative and not be scared by the unexpected.  Take care out there!  


  1. Check out this interesting scam mentioned in BoingBoing:


  2. Replies
    1. It's a good way of putting it, Anthony. Always practice safe surfing. :-)