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RGP warns of ‘ransomware’ attacks on local businesses

The Royal Gibraltar Police is warning of ‘ransomware’ attacks, after a local business was targeted.

The RGP said an investigation is ongoing, with ransom malware, or ransomware, a type of cyberattack that prevents users from accessing their computer system until they have made a ransom payment.

An RGP spokesman confirmed that no money was exchanged in this incident, and attackers usually leave a “ransom note” which informs the victim that the only way to get access to their files is by using a “key” purchased from the attackers.

Victims usually then have 48 hours to contact the attackers to prevent files from being deleted, published on various websites, hackers’ forums, etc, the RGP said.

The attackers usually send a link to the dark web, where they can anonymously make contact with the victim and make their demands.

The earliest variants of ransomware were developed in the late 1980s and payment was to be sent through the postal system. Today, ransomware attackers require payment be sent via cryptocurrency or credit card and they target individuals, businesses and organisations of all kinds.

“If anyone believes that they have been targeted, they should speak to an IT professional or their Internet Service Provider to ask for help, as they may be able to assist immediately in preventing the attack from continuing,” an RGP spokesman said.

“If a ransomware attack is confirmed, the relevant server/computer should be considered as a crime scene, which contains vital evidence. It is important to keep a timeline of events and to save server logs, web logs, email logs, network graphs and reports. These would assist in any future investigation.”

Advice from the RGP includes: browse and download software only from trusted websites, do not install or run non-trusted or unknown software, do not pay out any money, do use anti-virus software, do regularly back up the data stored, do consult an anti-virus provider on how to unlock and remove the infection from the device.

Anyone needing specific advice can contact the RGP via email ECU@royalgib.police.gi or on 20048040.

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