Italy: local council office workers fall victim to Bitcoin ransom requesting virus

Thursday 23 October 2014 14:01 CET | News

Italian council offices have reported their computers being infected with a virus called ansomware, which is demanding payment in Bitcoin.

As a result, council office workers are unable to pay bills, issue certificates or access server documents until they pay the digital ransom, reports, citing Corriere della Serra news agency. The attackers fee is currently set at EUR 400 worth of Bitcoin. However, the amount is said to double after three days.

After the recent launch from Russia, the virus has spread rapidly through the councils computer network through phishing emails. While some machines have been updated with antivirus software to block it successfully, many are still at risk.

Once the malware gains access to a victims machine it sends what appears to be an ordinary .pdf file named with a long string of characters to all contacts in their email address book. On closer examination the file is actually a malicious .exe program. When opened by an unsuspecting co-worker, this program encrypts all .pdf files, photos and Microsoft Office documents on their machine and server, rendering them useless.

After this block is activated, a hoax antivirus invites users to purchase decoding software, providing the step-by-step instructions necessary to complete the procedure. The hackers behind the attack have even included customer support contact details for those unfamiliar with how to use Bitcoin.

Di.Fo.B, an Italian consultancy dealing with cyber crime, has claimed that the Bitcoin addresses listed by the attackers have received around USD 100,000 from victims from the otbreak.

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Keywords: Italy, local council, office workers, Bitcoin, virus, ransomware, infected, computers, payments
Categories: DeFi & Crypto & Web3
Countries: World
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