The Malta Police Force wishes to inform the general public of a variant of a computer malware, known as “police ransomware”, which involves the misuse of the Malta Police Force logo.
Computer systems infected with police ransomware display a warning message claiming that the user’s computer had been “suspended on the grounds of unauthorised cyber activity” and that a fine has to be paid for the computer to be unblocked. Usually, the user will notice that the computer has seized up or that his documents are no longer accessible. In almost all cases, paying the ransom does not restore the computer to its original state.
The Malta Police Force advises that no law enforcement agency, including the Malta Police Force, collects fines in this manner. Such computer messages claiming to be from the Malta Police Force are fraudulent. Users targeted by police ransomware should not pay any money.
Anyone who has been deceived into paying the ransom money is encouraged to lodge a police report providing as much information as possible – including a screenshot of the ransom message presented, payment information, details of the activity being undertaken on the computer when the ransom message appeared as well as the date and time when this happened.
The Malta Police Force has not received any reports of persons who have fallen victim to this type of malware. Nevertheless, it has been felt necessary to publish this crime prevention press release. Thank You.
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