Ransomware:  A new word dedicated to those types of virus that aim to get the victim to pay out to have something done or fixed on their PC:

Wikipedia: Ransomware is a type of malware which restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator(s) of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed. Some forms of ransomware encrypt files on the system’s hard drive (cryptoviral extortion, a threat originally envisioned by Adam Young and Moti Yung), while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying.

one of many “ransomware” screens

Typically they fall into these kind of things:


  • Changing your home screen, home page, desktop background or any combination to show a “ransom” screen.


  • Calls from call centres , often, with an Indian accent, saying they can fix your PC
    • sometimes linked to the BT/Yahoo security leak (they get your name phone number by hacking someone else’s system)
  • Calls from people claiming they work for your bank/Microsoft/Apple ….and others…all trying to find out personal details including bank details and PIN
  • Emails, apparently from friends, asking for money to help them out of a problem
  • Emails from people you don’t know offering too-good-to-be-true deals or needed to dump money into your bank account
Example of an email apparently coming from a friend in need. I followed this one anonymously to find out how the scam works

Simple rules with any of these types of scam:

  • is NEVER, EVER give any details whatsoever to someone who has cold called you. Not even your name.
  • If it appears suspicious, then it probably is: Don’t respond

How can I help?

There’s some steps you can take to help yourself: changing passwords being a top choice.

For more persistent problems drop me a line.