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Ransomware leads to 'animal abuse images' confession

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 19 May 2015 16:13 User comments (4)

Ransomware leads to 'animal abuse images' confession A man turned himself in to police in the UK to confess to possessing sexual images involving animals after being threatened by ransomware on his PC.
The 61-year old living in Scotland had encountered a run-of-the-mill ransomware infection on his Windows PC in 2013. Unlike more advanced ransomware that uses cryptography to wall off access to files on infected PCs until a ransom is paid, this infection just locked the screen and threw up a phony warning from police.

Such ransomware infections often claim to have detected illegal browsing activity, illegal files such as pornography or copyright infringing content, and threatens to forward the information to authorities unless a ransom is paid. Some even use location information on the PC to pick the relevant police force based on the territory the victim resides in.

In this case, the man in question reportedly paid 100 in ransom to regain access to his files, which actually were never encrypted at all. To his dismay, the access was not restored and fearing he was about to be arrested, he turned himself in to police.

He admitted to possessing hundreds of images of animals of a sexual nature, including horses, dogs and pigs, although he maintained that he never actually looked at them after downloading them.

Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to possessing the images at Carlisle Crown Court and this week he was ordered to submit to a 12-month supervision order, a non-custodial sentence.

The danger of ransomware

While it is easy to laugh at the circumstances that unmasked this man's dark secret and bizarre desires (as well as criminal activity in the UK), ransomware has the ability to damage the reputation of innocent victims too. Think, for example, how it would look if a spouse or partner turned on a computer at home only to see such a serious looking warning about illicit activity.

Or what if such an incident happened at work and a tech-illiterate boss were to believe the claims made by the ransomware?

It seems highly likely that such infections have caused serious trouble for innocent people all around the world.

More nefarious ransomware infections also encrypt files and folders and won't decrypt them until a fee is paid, and there's no guarantees even if the victim reluctantly coughs up the ransom.

Tags: Ransomware
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4 user comments

120.5.2015 0:57

Considering people have already committed suicide because of ransomeware the people behind it should hand their heads in shame for having blood on their hands.
This is not a victimless crime n if they are caught should be given the same sentences as murderers.
IMHO......
As a computer techie, I have seen first hand the distress this software can cause n it is not pretty.....


Live for today, Stuff tomorrow !!!!!

220.5.2015 1:23

The problem of highlighting this case is that some ignorant people will look at it as a kind of justice in much the same way that reducing child pornography is used as an excuse for enforcing anti privacy laws!

320.5.2015 3:03

Agreed, they should highlight the fact innocent people are getting hurt by this sort of ransomeware, it is not like scamming someone with scam letters, people are being unfairly targeted by legit looking pages and computers are getting locked out with this ransomeware, the wording on these pages are what is having the detriment effect on people using words like paedophilia n zoophillia, etc,
People who have No or little experience of computers are horrified by what they are allegedly being accused of...
It goes to show the scammers have No care for the innocent people they are targeting by putting this crap on the web...
And more effort should be put into catching them than reducing someone sharing a few films here n there.....


Live for today, Stuff tomorrow !!!!!

420.5.2015 13:12

Originally posted by calum3636:
Agreed, they should highlight the fact innocent people are getting hurt by this sort of ransomeware, it is not like scamming someone with scam letters, people are being unfairly targeted by legit looking pages and computers are getting locked out with this ransomeware, the wording on these pages are what is having the detriment effect on people using words like paedophilia n zoophillia, etc,
People who have No or little experience of computers are horrified by what they are allegedly being accused of...
It goes to show the scammers have No care for the innocent people they are targeting by putting this crap on the web...
And more effort should be put into catching them than reducing someone sharing a few films here n there.....

Agreed, that's what I tried to do at the bottom of the article because this story has gotten some traction and is being presented in some cases as justice of a kind, but of course there is still the fact that ransomware is extremely damaging. In this case, sure it resulted in a man admitting a crime to police and the nature of the crime of bizarre to most people, but yes the malware infection that kicked off this chain of events is no less serious, no less immoral, etc regardless of the outcome.

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