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. â€œI 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 â€œransomwareâ€ 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 peopleâ€™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.