London Police Warns of Bitcoin Ransom Scam

A British cybersecurity watchdog has issued a warning about new bitcoin ransomware attacks disguised as messages from several UK government agencies.

AccessTimeIconJul 20, 2015 at 8:51 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:47 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

A UK cybersecurity watchdog has issued a warning about new bitcoin ransomware attacks disguised as messages from several government agencies.

According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), unknown parties have been reported spoofing emails from the UK Home Office and Ministry of Justice, as well as from domestic energy giant British Gas.

The emails are being used to distribute TorrentLocker, one of a number of malware variants that, when activated, lock up a user's files unless a ransom in bitcoin is paid. A report last year found that the vast majority of TorrentLocker victims opt not to pay.

The NFIB indicated that malicious attachments as well as links to websites are being used to distributed the ransomware. In some instances, affected users are being prompted to fill in a captcha code after being warned about bills or unspecified legal action.

The notice further advised potential victims to back up their data and to report any incidents to cybercrime authorities.

Security lock on keyboard image via Shutterstock

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.