Europol hosts expert meeting to combat the spread of "Police Ransomware"

07 May 2012
News Article
Press Release/News

This News/Press release is about Cybercrime

View all crime areas

Police officers from 14 EU Member States affected by ‘Police Ransomware’, malicious software which defrauds Internet users by demanding payment of fake police fines, met with representatives from Europol, Eurojust, Interpol and industry at Europol's headquarters in The Hague last week. The meeting was organized by the Europol Cyber Crime Centre with the aim of defining a common approach to combat this widespread phenomenon.

The meeting provided an opportunity for police officers to compare the situations in their countries to those of their peers and to share best practices on how to tackle this particular type of criminality.

A ransomware attack typically poses as a pop-up window on your screen which claims to come from a law enforcement agency and accuses the user of visiting illegal websites. The screen is frozen, and the message reads that it will be unlocked only on payment of a fine. Demands are very often specific to the country of the victim, pretending to be issued by local law enforcement agencies and written in the local language. Despite payment of the fine, however, the computer will not be able to be unlocked until the machine is successfully disinfected.

This type of attack was first detected in 2011 and has affected thousands of innocent citizens.

Ransomware is big business, generating millions of euro for organised criminal groups. This money is then used to finance further criminal activities all over the world. Combatting this kind of malicious software not only enables citizens to browse the Internet more safely but also helps in the fight against organised crime.

This type of attack was first detected in 2011 and has affected thousands of innocent citizens. To make sure that you too don't get held to ransom, take a look at this special information sheet produced by the experts in the Europol Cyber Crime Centre.