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Ransomware attacks on the increase, ministry warns

Finland's National Cyber Security Centre has issued advice to users to be extra vigilant against computer viruses which extort hundreds of dollars from victims, after higher than average levels of email attacks have been discovered.

Käsi tietokoneen hiirellä.
Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Finnish cyber protection authorities have warned against a rise in “ransomware” – computer viruses which encrypt your data and demand payment to release it.

Viruses such as Cryptowall attempt to charge victims hundreds of euros in order to get back the contents of their hard drive or network drives. Cyber security experts estimate that criminals have extorted tens of millions of dollars as the scam has become more widespread in recent years.

The Cyber Security Centre, housed in the Ministry of Communications, say they are aware of higher than average volumes of attempted email attacks, which try to trick the recipient into opening an attachment which in fact contains the malware.

The CSC also report that incidences of other types of malware are also on the increase, and say that infected files are most commonly disguised as zip files, but can also be in the docx or pdf formats.

The Communications Ministry warn that the harmful phishing emails can be in Finnish, and often appear to be sent by someone known, or come in the form of a bill.

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