13 June 2014
The NCA is today reminding UK computer users that there is still time to protect themselves from the GoZeuS and CryptoLocker malicious software (malware) threats.
On Monday 2 June, the NCA announced that an international operation had temporarily weakened the global network of infected computers, providing a particularly strong two-week opportunity for members of the public to rid themselves of the malware and help prevent future infection.
By updating security software, running system scans to detect and clear infections, and checking that computer operating systems are up to date, individuals and businesses can take advantage of the criminal network’s relative weakness. The NCA strongly recommends taking these steps as soon as possible before midnight on Tuesday 17 June.
The NCA is also emphasising the dangers of opening ‘spam’ emails and downloading unknown attachments – the most common means of infection.
GoZeuS is designed to steal banking information from personal computers, while CryptoLocker encrypts user-created files such as business documents and photographs, only releasing them in return for a ransom of hundreds of pounds.
Current indications are that UK GoZeuS and CryptoLocker infections have reduced since 2 June, but thousands of systems remain affected or at risk.
Enhancing security after the two-week period has elapsed will still be effective against cyber crime threats, but may not give the enhanced protection available while the GoZeuS and CryptoLocker system is at its weakest.
Tailored information on scanning and cleaning computer systems and ensuring security software is up to date can be found at www.cyberstreetwise.com/ncaalert, www.getsafeonline.org/nca, and www.cert.gov.uk.
Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said:
"This is about taking a few simple steps to keep your money and personal information in your hands, rather than those of international criminals."
"While there is never a bad time to maximise your online security, and it is something we should all do regularly, acting now can provide unprecedented levels of protection from these types of malware. If you haven't already, we urge individuals and small businesses alike to take action this weekend."
Members of the public who think they have lost money through malware such as GoZeuS and CryptoLocker should report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk