Romanian Man Commits Suicide and Kills His 4-Year-Old after Falling for Police Ransomware
A Romanian man committed suicide and killed his 4-year-old son after falling for a police ransomware scam that threatened him with huge fines and jail for watching online pornography, according to local newspaper Braila 24. This is reportedly the first murder-suicide caused by malware writers.
Before hanging himself in the living room along with his son Nicusor, the 36 year-old left a suicide note.
“I received a warning [on my computer] that said I have to pay 70.000 lei [$22,000] or go to prison for 11 years,” the note allegedly reads. “I don’t think it’s normal what I’ve done…I apologize to all of you…I don’t want Nicusor to suffer because of me…I can’t stand going to prison. I can’t.”
Bitdefender has been providing a free removal tool for Trojan.Ransom.IcePol since November 2012. The antivirus software company worked closely with Romanian police and discovered that cyber-criminals made almost $160,000 in a single year from a Romania-based server. While most of the ransom money was paid by US-based users (over $32,000), a significant percentage was also gathered from Romanian PCs ($2,500).
Globally, financial losses are a lot higher. In February 2013, Spanish police arrested 10 people allegedly involved in a massive “ransomware” cyber-crime organization. Authorities estimated that the ring infected tens of thousands of users worldwide, stealing over 1 million euros a year.
Ransomware is a commercial form of malware that can infect computers through spam emails or malicious websites, claiming payment to unlock the devices.
The IcePol Trojan capitalizes on people’s fear, scans their IP address and delivers a fake Police message in their native language. Phony accusations range from zoophilia and child pornography to copyright infringement.