Tens of millions of UK email users could be targeted in 'mass spamming event' designed to harvest their financial details warns National Crime Agency
- Small and medium businesses are particular targets of messages that appear to be emails from banks, the NCA said today
- Emails contain attachments that look like details of suspicious transactions
- Are actually malicious software that encrypts user's computer
- National Cyber Crime Unit are pursing groups committing the crime
Tens of millions of UK email users could be targeted in a 'mass spamming event' designed to harvest their financial details, it has been claimed today.
The National Crime Agency warned that small and medium businesses are the particular targets of the messages that appear to be legitimate communication from banks.
The emails come with attachments that look to be files such as a voicemail, fax, an invoice or details of a suspicious transaction.
Threat: Small and medium businesses are the most at risk from the scam - which sees messages that appear to be communications from banks delivered to inboxes (library image)
However, it is in fact malicious software that encrypts the user's computer.
The screen will then display a countdown timer that demands the payment of 2 Bitcoins, a digital currency worth around £536, for the decryption key.
Officers said the scam is 'a significant risk' to those targeted.
Lee Miles, deputy head of the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), said: 'The NCA are actively pursuing organised crime groups committing this type of crime.
'We are working in cooperation with industry and international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible and reduce the risk to the public.'
Action: The NCA are attempting to 'bring to justice those responsible' for the emails (library image)
The NCCU is trying to uncover who is sending the emails. Anyone whose computer is infected should report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Experts are advising internet users not to click on any attachments like those described, to update antivirus software and operating systems, and to back up files.
If a computer is infected it should be disconnected from the network and a professional called in to clear the machine, they added.
Most watched News videos
- Sanders says Trump book is 'full of false and fake information'
- Trump says ex-ally Bannon 'changed his tune pretty quick'
- WH: Bannon's accusation against Trump Jr. is 'ridiculous'
- Floods in Boston causes dumpsters to float down the street
- Bannon calls Don Jr's Russian meeting 'treasonous' in new book
- The White House defends Trump 'button' tweet aimed at N Korea
- Sarah Sanders calls Michael Wolff book 'complete fantasy'
- A video shows a nurse squashing the face of a newborn baby
- Fleet feet! Fennec fox sprints around owner for attention
- 'Fire and Fury' portrays an inept of Trump in the White House
- Detective Reid gives statement after John Worboys 2009 conviction
- Meet Ronnie the puppy: Eight-week-old mongrel dumped by owners