There has been a touch of blue flu on the peninsula over the last week. Not the kind that afflicts Garda Stations, but a virus of another sort. A few computers, have been presented at the CompuCara office displaying, the distressing signs of it.
The Garda Síochána lock screen is a computer virus, which whenever you try to log on into your Windows operating system or Safe Mode with Networking, it will display a lock screen asking you to pay a non-existing fine of 100 euro in the form of a Ukash or Paysafecard code.
Furthermore, to make this alert seem more authentic, this virus also has the ability to access your installed webcam, so that the bogus An Garda Síochána notification shows a video of what is happening in the room, or displays a photograph of yourself looking a the screen in a bewildered manner. Typically, the computer becomes infected with a virus due to visiting a website which contains the malware.
The display page contains page the logo of the Garda Síochána as well as other security organizations and it displays a message accusing the computer owner of having committed illegal activity and demanding payment of a “fine” in order to return control of the computer back to its owner. Examples of the illegal activity, of which computer owners are accused include, downloading music or videos illegally, using illegal software and accessing child pornography
This kind of virus is called ransomware and first came into play in 2005. The computer is held locked until the user pays a fee. This is an internationally active virus which detects the country in which the computer is located and displays the emblem of the police force from that country.
The advice from the Gardaí is as follows
DO NOT PAY ANY FINES. This is NOT a Garda initiative. If you become infected by this malicious software all affected computers should be repaired by a reputable repair person. Where a person has been deceived into paying money, a report should be made to their local Garda Station. Computer users should run anti-virus software and keep it as up to date as possible.