Police warn Halton computer users to check for viruses

10:07am Wednesday 4th June 2014

By Barbara Jordan

CHESHIRE Police today advised Halton residents and businesses to take action following the infection of more than a million computers worldwide with two new forms of malicious software.

The first of these, known as Zeus Gameover, P2PZeus or GOZ steals login details for online banking sites, allowing organised crime groups to steal from victims′ accounts.

The second form, CryptoLocker, is used to hold people to ransom. Criminals use the malware to lock the victim′s computer remotely and then demand payment to unlock it.

Police forces in 11 countries, including the UK, have taken part in a joint operation to arrest the people responsible for the malware. This will stem the flow of new computer infections but it still leaves many computers infected.

Everyone should update their operating system as soon as possible and check for updates weekly. These are free.

Install or update anti-virus or security software. This can be free for basic protection and it is recommended that this is set to update automatically.

Use caution before clicking on unsolicited email attachments or hyperlinks as they are one of the most common ways of getting infected.

Backup copies of their most important files to a non-networked system (e.g. on an external hard drive or burned to a DVD.

Choose a strong password including a combination of numbers, letters and other characters. Do not use the same password for all your accounts.

Beware of cold calls from people offering to fix or remotely clean computers. This is invariably a scam. Always be sure of who is calling and if you are in any doubt don′t grant them access to your computer. None of the legitimate tools designed to protect users require remote access to the computer.

If you are worried about malware on your computer, or think you may have been targeted with a computer virus visit getsafeonline.org/ and run one of the free clean-up tools. This is a trustworthy site which provides plain English explanations and advice.

If you discover you have been infected with malware you should report it to actionfraud.police.uk/. You should also notify your bank and change all your passwords.

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