UK SMEs have been warned about a ‘significant risk’ from a plague of spam ransomware emails claiming to be from banks and other financial institutions.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) issued the alert over the weekend, explaining that it had seen a spike in emails with attachments that look like voicemails, faxes or payment invoices.
In fact the email contains malware called Cryptolocker, which encrypts files and the network the machine is attached to. It then demands a payment of two Bitcoins – worth around £530 – to remove it.
The NCA said firms should not pay this ransom as it was unlikely to have any effect. Lee Miles, deputy head of the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) within the NCA said the organisation was working hard to bring those behind the scam to justice.
"The NCA are actively pursuing organised crime groups committing this type of crime,” he said. We are working in co-operation with industry and international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible and reduce the risk to the public."
The NCA urged firms to be vigilant against the threat by making sure staff are informed of the scam, that antivirus software is up to date and that backups of important files are stored off networks in case the worst should happen.
Criminal focus on SMEs has increased in 2013, with reports earlier this year citing the cost of some attacks on firms as reaching as high as £65,000 per incident.
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