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ACMA issues ransomware warning

Pop-up alert states the user’s computer has been locked because they accessed banned pornography

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has warned consumers about a ransomware scam which uses the logos of ACMA and the Australian Federal Police.

According to the consumer watchdog, the scam has been circulating on infected websites, email and Twitter for some time.

The ransomware causes infected computers to freeze with a pop-up alert appearing on the screen.

“The alert states that the user’s computer has been locked because of the user viewing or storing banned pornography and breaching various laws,” said ACMA social media producer Lousie Tapsell in a statement.

“The scammer claims that they will unlock the computer if a fee is paid.”

A countdown timer appears on the screen showing the remaining time in which the fee must be paid and a payment portal.

However, she said that payment of the ransom does not guarantee the user will gain control of their computer.

The ransomware is not isolated to Windows operating systems as a similar scam using the USA FBI identification is currently targeting MAC OS X.

“We recommend that you speak with a PC professional to remove the ransomware if you believe you have been infected,” Tapsell said.

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