Detective at the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) have arrested three people from Stoke-on-Trent on suspicion of using ransomware to trick unwitting victims into paying bogus £100 fines.
Those arrested were a 34-year-old man and 30-year-old woman from Stoke-on-Trent, who were held over suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and possession of items for use in fraud.
The third person arrested was a 26-year-old man also from Stoke-on-Trent on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. All three are currently in custody.
The fraud revolved around an infected machine displaying a splash page featuring official logos from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) or the PCeU demanding a "fine" of £100 for committing online offences.
Detective inspector Jason Tunn, from the PCeU, said the police remained committed to stamping out these sorts of crimes and urged computer users to remain wary of such scams.
"The arrests shows we are determined to combat this type of crime. I remind all computer users that police do not use such a method to impose or enforce fines, so if you are confronted by such a page do not enter any of your details. Call police on 101," he said.
Ransomware is a common scam and takes various guises, with some crooks posing as staff from organisations such as Microsoft and offering to remove a virus in an infected machine for a fee, usually around £70 tp £100, when no faults exist.
The news come on the same day UK authorities were involved in a major international effort to smash a cyber crime ring using the Butterfly botnet to rake in some £850m. Those arrested included one member of the gang based in Surrey.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.