A new form of malicious software (malware) is appearing that demands a ransom. The malware is appearing initially at file sharing sites. However, if the extortion is having any success, then the malware may morph into other forms to blackmail funds.

Presently, the computer infection steals personal web browsing information:

“… Masquerading as a game installation screen, it requests the PC owner’s personal details.

It then takes screengrabs of the user’s web history and publishes it online in their name, before sending an e-mail or pop-up screen demanding a credit card payment of 1500 yen (£10) to “settle your violation of copyright law” and remove the webpage.

link: Porn virus publishes web history of victims on the net

additional links: Porn virus holds gamers to ransom

Blackmailware publishes your web history, then wants your money

The malware infects the computer by means of a trojan.

There are some precautions to take. Make certain that the computer security programs are running. Download the latest definitions and avoid using file sharing sites. To protect your privacy, delete the web history.

Remember that no single security application is a hundred per cent effective. Security expects will recommend layers of protection, such as a firewall, an antivirus program, an encryption program and so forth. At this time of year, there may be information on the computer that have been used recently for tax preparation. These files, with an abundance of personal information, are prime targets of hackers and cybercriminals. The personal information on the hard drive provides information to victimize the computer owner with identity theft.

Now go check to make sure you have the latest security definitions for your security program.

Catherine Forsythe

*** Chris Pirillo frequently suggests security software and his recommendations usually come with a discount for his readers. Watch for his security articles.