Warrington GuardianWarning as computer hackers target Warrington (From Warrington Guardian)

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Warning as computer hackers target Warrington

Warrington Guardian: Warning as computer hackers target Warrington Warning as computer hackers target Warrington

COMPUTER hackers have been targeting computer users in the town by using bogus e-mails from Cheshire Police as a way of infecting systems with ‘ransomware’.

Once activated the ransomware will then lock computer users from accessing personal information, including pictures, essays or work projects.

And when you try to log into the computer you will be met with a message asking you to effectively pay ransom money of $300 to get your documents back and a time limit in which to pay or they will wipe your data.

And one computer business in Latchford say they are seeing people every week who have been caught.

Craig Whittaker, managing director of Hexcel, on Wash Lane, said: “We are getting about five people a week coming through at our place.

“It does it by your IP address to find which area you are in and sends a link for you to click.

“The e-mail can say its from Cheshire Police or HMRC but its actually a cryptolocker.

“Once it has got in place we can’t do anything with it as it’s infected.

“This new type of ransomware infects the computer and then stealthily encrypts all your files and photos behind your back.

“It will change every file it finds in the office or home network even USB hard drives which you may be using to back up your PCs files.”

The computer messages will even sometimes use your webcam to add your picture to the e-mail from police to try and scare you into paying up.

Detective Sergeant Peter Kidd from the Economic Crime Unit said: “This scam is clearly concerning for the people and the use of the police authority logo makes it appear authentic to the general public. People will be aware that we no longer use this logo and I would urge them to spread the word about this scam so no one falls victim to it.”

It is estimated the scams have already netted criminals $250 million since its release last year.

The programme it uses can avoid detection from antivirus software as it is normally sent as a link in an e-mail rather than as an attachment.

Hexel has seen customers take up its own storage system in its company server and a programme which scans your e-mails before they are downloaded.

And the experts say the only way to protect yourself from being caught out is to watch what e-mails you might receive and make sure to back up any important documents you do not want to lose.

Comments (12)

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7:38am Tue 1 Jul 14

Brick Bazooka says...

Whilst I sit here sipping my 'Coca Cola' reading this with my new glasses from 'Vision Express' I sense this virus could be worrying for many people however it also appears there is some scaremongering to drum up business for 'Hexcel' too.
Whilst I sit here sipping my 'Coca Cola' reading this with my new glasses from 'Vision Express' I sense this virus could be worrying for many people however it also appears there is some scaremongering to drum up business for 'Hexcel' too. Brick Bazooka
  • Score: 11

9:23am Tue 1 Jul 14

mustang1974 says...

This is nonsense.....the virus is real for sure but I don't understand where Hexcel are coming from when they say "Once it has got in place we can’t do anything with it as it’s infected".......My laptop became infected from exactly this virus a couple of weeks ago (luckily I didn't pay the 'ransom').....I took my laptop to PC World who were able to back up and save my existing files (100's of 1000's including music, films, office, pics) and they were able to rid this virus within 24hrs. Granted, this may be some kind of new PC superbug (the MRSA for PC's) but I rather suspect it is the same. I agree with Brick Bazooka......scaremo
ngering from Excel but who are unlikely to drum up business by doing this as they cannot do anything about it unlike their competitors.
This is nonsense.....the virus is real for sure but I don't understand where Hexcel are coming from when they say "Once it has got in place we can’t do anything with it as it’s infected".......My laptop became infected from exactly this virus a couple of weeks ago (luckily I didn't pay the 'ransom').....I took my laptop to PC World who were able to back up and save my existing files (100's of 1000's including music, films, office, pics) and they were able to rid this virus within 24hrs. Granted, this may be some kind of new PC superbug (the MRSA for PC's) but I rather suspect it is the same. I agree with Brick Bazooka......scaremo ngering from Excel but who are unlikely to drum up business by doing this as they cannot do anything about it unlike their competitors. mustang1974
  • Score: 3

9:40am Tue 1 Jul 14

richiepooh says...

Wow a real worrying lack of knowledge from hexes then as
“It does it by your IP address to find which area you are in and sends a link for you to click."
Email addresses are not in anyway shape or form related to ip addresses. It is 100% impossible to determine someone's email address from their geographical location.
Wow a real worrying lack of knowledge from hexes then as “It does it by your IP address to find which area you are in and sends a link for you to click." Email addresses are not in anyway shape or form related to ip addresses. It is 100% impossible to determine someone's email address from their geographical location. richiepooh
  • Score: 4

9:41am Tue 1 Jul 14

richiepooh says...

Wow a real worrying lack of knowledge from hexel then as when they say
“It does it by your IP address to find which area you are in and sends a link for you to click."
Email addresses are not in anyway shape or form related to ip addresses. It is 100% impossible to determine someone's email address from their geographical location.
Wow a real worrying lack of knowledge from hexel then as when they say “It does it by your IP address to find which area you are in and sends a link for you to click." Email addresses are not in anyway shape or form related to ip addresses. It is 100% impossible to determine someone's email address from their geographical location. richiepooh
  • Score: 2

11:07am Tue 1 Jul 14

warrington_biker says...

Richiepooh.. you read my mind.

Depending on the version of cryptolocker, its easily recoverable.
If its CryptoDefense.. its even easier as the dumb@$$es left the private key on the infected machine.

Nothing but scaremongering to drum up business.
"Hexel has seen customers take up its own storage system in its company server and a programme which scans your e-mails before they are downloaded." -- Microsoft Live/Google GMail etc already provide these services for free.

I do however agree that people should always be wary of emails they are not expecting, that come with attachments or links to what appear to be official websites.

If in doubt, ring the sender before clicking anything - e.g. NatWest online banking.
Richiepooh.. you read my mind. Depending on the version of cryptolocker, its easily recoverable. If its CryptoDefense.. its even easier as the dumb@$$es left the private key on the infected machine. Nothing but scaremongering to drum up business. "Hexel has seen customers take up its own storage system in its company server and a programme which scans your e-mails before they are downloaded." -- Microsoft Live/Google GMail etc already provide these services for free. I do however agree that people should always be wary of emails they are not expecting, that come with attachments or links to what appear to be official websites. If in doubt, ring the sender before clicking anything - e.g. NatWest online banking. warrington_biker
  • Score: 6

1:23pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Melonfish says...

This has nothing to do with being targeted, it has everything to do with what you're willing to click on and run.
- Attachments or links in e-mails.
- Downloaded software.
- pop ups, links or banners on websites.
- links to "funny" video's on social media sites.

Simply be aware of what you're doing and never trust anything you aren't 100% sure of. if in doubt close it using the X in the corner or Alt+f4 to close the active window.
consider some basic anti virus programs too, browsing the net need not be scary.
This has nothing to do with being targeted, it has everything to do with what you're willing to click on and run. - Attachments or links in e-mails. - Downloaded software. - pop ups, links or banners on websites. - links to "funny" video's on social media sites. Simply be aware of what you're doing and never trust anything you aren't 100% sure of. if in doubt close it using the X in the corner or Alt+f4 to close the active window. consider some basic anti virus programs too, browsing the net need not be scary. Melonfish
  • Score: 4

4:33pm Tue 1 Jul 14

HexelDev says...

This is what we released to the Guardian :

New Types of Viruses are hitting the town’s computers.
Computer users need to beef up their protection, be more vigilant and ensure their data is safe.
Hexel have been hunting down and fixing the damage viruses cause for over 18 years in the town, but the new variants take it to the next level and hold the users to ransom.
This new type of “Ransomware” infects the computer and then stealthily encrypts all your files and photos behind your back. It will change every file it finds in the office or home network, even USB hard drives which you may be using to back up your PC’s files will get encrypted (unreadable without a password)
Once the virus has delivered it’s payload it sends the “key” or password to a server on the internet and then displays a message that this password will be destroyed within 72 to 100 hours unless a ransom is paid, typically about 300 euros.
Our Engineers can remove the virus but as your files have been altered there is no feasible way to reverse the damage they have done (on the variants we have seen) without paying the ransom to the criminals.
This can cause great distress to home users and businesses, most people have their family photo albums on their home computers and they can lose everything.
How can we prevent it ?
There is only two ways to protect yourself from this new onslaught of malware :
1 ) Ensure you or anybody around you doesn't get infected.
Ninety percent of infections are caused by the user not been vigilant enough. Most viruses are sent as an e-mail attachments which look they are from big organisations like Amazon, HMRC, Fed-ex etc.
Before you open any attachment, think ! Were you expecting something from them ? If your friends computer has been infected, it could be sending you viruses, does your friend often send you ZIP files ? It would be unusual for HMRC to send an email, if you are in doubt don’t open it.
Ensure your PC has a good anti-virus software installed, and make sure it scans your files, your email and your web activity.
Hexel have teamed up with Talk Internet and we offer a solution for as little as £20 per year that actually stops viruses (and spam) before they get download to your PC by scanning all your email whilst it’s still on the internet.
Although e-mail filtering will catch most malicious software, the criminals try to stay one step ahead and continually refine their attack on our systems. This new breed of viruses doesn’t send the actual virus itself as this can be picked up Anti-virus scanners , they send a link to an infected website and you unwittingly download the virus.


2) Backup your files and keep them off your network.
The code in this type of attack is so sophisticated it scans all your network shares, local disk, USB pens, everywhere you may be keeping your files/photos, and will damage them.
To combat this we have developed a system called Infocare which will take a copy of all your most precious data, encrypt it so the virus can’t access it (and nobody else can either) and store it on a server in our offices in Warrington, this costs as little as £9 per month.
There are plenty of “cloud” or “offsite” backup solutions available, when choosing one ensure that it’s managed service, so somebody activity checks it’s working and your systems are safe every day. Also think if I did have a disaster, how quickly can I get my data back.

Craig Whittaker
Managing Director
Hexel Developments LTD
01925 444439
This is what we released to the Guardian : New Types of Viruses are hitting the town’s computers. Computer users need to beef up their protection, be more vigilant and ensure their data is safe. Hexel have been hunting down and fixing the damage viruses cause for over 18 years in the town, but the new variants take it to the next level and hold the users to ransom. This new type of “Ransomware” infects the computer and then stealthily encrypts all your files and photos behind your back. It will change every file it finds in the office or home network, even USB hard drives which you may be using to back up your PC’s files will get encrypted (unreadable without a password) Once the virus has delivered it’s payload it sends the “key” or password to a server on the internet and then displays a message that this password will be destroyed within 72 to 100 hours unless a ransom is paid, typically about 300 euros. Our Engineers can remove the virus but as your files have been altered there is no feasible way to reverse the damage they have done (on the variants we have seen) without paying the ransom to the criminals. This can cause great distress to home users and businesses, most people have their family photo albums on their home computers and they can lose everything. How can we prevent it ? There is only two ways to protect yourself from this new onslaught of malware : 1 ) Ensure you or anybody around you doesn't get infected. Ninety percent of infections are caused by the user not been vigilant enough. Most viruses are sent as an e-mail attachments which look they are from big organisations like Amazon, HMRC, Fed-ex etc. Before you open any attachment, think ! Were you expecting something from them ? If your friends computer has been infected, it could be sending you viruses, does your friend often send you ZIP files ? It would be unusual for HMRC to send an email, if you are in doubt don’t open it. Ensure your PC has a good anti-virus software installed, and make sure it scans your files, your email and your web activity. Hexel have teamed up with Talk Internet and we offer a solution for as little as £20 per year that actually stops viruses (and spam) before they get download to your PC by scanning all your email whilst it’s still on the internet. Although e-mail filtering will catch most malicious software, the criminals try to stay one step ahead and continually refine their attack on our systems. This new breed of viruses doesn’t send the actual virus itself as this can be picked up Anti-virus scanners , they send a link to an infected website and you unwittingly download the virus. 2) Backup your files and keep them off your network. The code in this type of attack is so sophisticated it scans all your network shares, local disk, USB pens, everywhere you may be keeping your files/photos, and will damage them. To combat this we have developed a system called Infocare which will take a copy of all your most precious data, encrypt it so the virus can’t access it (and nobody else can either) and store it on a server in our offices in Warrington, this costs as little as £9 per month. There are plenty of “cloud” or “offsite” backup solutions available, when choosing one ensure that it’s managed service, so somebody activity checks it’s working and your systems are safe every day. Also think if I did have a disaster, how quickly can I get my data back. Craig Whittaker Managing Director Hexel Developments LTD 01925 444439 HexelDev
  • Score: 0

6:36pm Tue 1 Jul 14

HappyMisery says...

Or as a FREE solution:

1. Use a different computer and download "RKill" and "Malware Bytes" free versions.
2. Copy to a USB drive and restart the infected machine in "Safe Mode with Networking"
3. Insert the USB drive and run "RKill" - this will shut down the ransom programme.
4. Run and Install "Malware Bytes" and allow a deep scan. This can take some time (hours)
5. When "Malware bytes" has finished, restart the machine and run another scan.
6. Enjoy your freedom and don't download any more silly attachments.
Or as a FREE solution: 1. Use a different computer and download "RKill" and "Malware Bytes" free versions. 2. Copy to a USB drive and restart the infected machine in "Safe Mode with Networking" 3. Insert the USB drive and run "RKill" - this will shut down the ransom programme. 4. Run and Install "Malware Bytes" and allow a deep scan. This can take some time (hours) 5. When "Malware bytes" has finished, restart the machine and run another scan. 6. Enjoy your freedom and don't download any more silly attachments. HappyMisery
  • Score: 5

6:40pm Tue 1 Jul 14

voyager says...

This is just typical of the Guardian. You send them a press release, they think it's too wordy, so they give it to the nearest 6 yr old to cut it down to fit. Actually some 6 yr olds could do a better job than the current 'editors'.
This is just typical of the Guardian. You send them a press release, they think it's too wordy, so they give it to the nearest 6 yr old to cut it down to fit. Actually some 6 yr olds could do a better job than the current 'editors'. voyager
  • Score: 6

7:54am Fri 4 Jul 14

pnewsome says...

Yes and the Guardian even get the name of the company wrong first time in.
Yes and the Guardian even get the name of the company wrong first time in. pnewsome
  • Score: -1

8:50pm Sat 5 Jul 14

grey-area says...

It's a bit worrying that normal Internet Security Software doesn't pick this Ransomeware up. Having said that, keep away from dodgy websites. You know who you are and what I mean!

As a handy hint and tip - create regular restore points on your computer. Then Google how you get rid of it yourself NOW before you get hit. You don't always need to buy software............
..from advertiser's press columns!
It's a bit worrying that normal Internet Security Software doesn't pick this Ransomeware up. Having said that, keep away from dodgy websites. You know who you are and what I mean! As a handy hint and tip - create regular restore points on your computer. Then Google how you get rid of it yourself NOW before you get hit. You don't always need to buy software............ ..from advertiser's press columns! grey-area
  • Score: 0

11:24pm Sat 5 Jul 14

local man says...

you can also download and install a prog called cryptoprevent that blocks any type of crypto locker from installing in the first place. I have heard crypto locker only targets and encrypts microsoft office files? could be untrue but worth while backing up stuff you dont want to loose as open office file format. I wont provide a link to cryptoprevent because it will look like an attempt to distribute malware! google it yourself !! I am pretty sure once encrypted (not with the key on show) you cannot get it removed and have your data / pics / docs restored. A police force in the USA had to pay the ransom to get data back ! You can remove the malware but not reverse the encryption.
you can also download and install a prog called cryptoprevent that blocks any type of crypto locker from installing in the first place. I have heard crypto locker only targets and encrypts microsoft office files? could be untrue but worth while backing up stuff you dont want to loose as open office file format. I wont provide a link to cryptoprevent because it will look like an attempt to distribute malware! google it yourself !! I am pretty sure once encrypted (not with the key on show) you cannot get it removed and have your data / pics / docs restored. A police force in the USA had to pay the ransom to get data back ! You can remove the malware but not reverse the encryption. local man
  • Score: 1
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