A new variant of a cyber-blackmail virus has been detected, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab.
The variant, classified as Win32.GpCode.ae, is currently spreading across the internet in Russia.
Once downloaded, the virus encrypts data on the victim's PC. The data is decrypted only when the virus writer's demands for money are met.
"This is the latest in a series of GpCode variants and we are seeing growth in this type of cyber-blackmail," said David Emm, senior technology consultant at Kaspersky Lab.
Even though the virus is confined to Russia at this stage, Emm warned UK users to be on the lookout.
"Since we have seen isolated incidents of 'ransomware' in the UK, users should be on their guard against this potential threat," said Emm.
Win32.GpCode.ae differs from earlier variants in that it encrypts the user's data using RSA 260-bit encryption, which is much harder to crack than the RSA 67-bit encryption used in previous versions.
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