'British Gas' and 'Home Office' email ransomware warning

A new spate of ransomware attacks is threatening to lockdown yet more computers, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

The NFIB is warning people to be wary of emails that appear to come from British Gas, the Ministry of Justice or the Home Office because they may infect your computer with the TorrentLocker ransomware.

The 'British Gas' emails contain an attachment or link for recipients to click and view their latest bill or statement. The 'Ministry of Justice' and 'Home Office' emails contain information about an upcoming 'court case'.

Victims are told to pay £330 worth of Bitcoins to unlock their files.

According to TrendMicro, the flood of ransomware attacks follows a period of relative calm in the UK. The company said that, in a new twist, if users click on the link rather than the attachment, they are directed to a captcha form. Entering the code downloads TorrentLocker and is an attempt to bypass automated sandboxing tests.

Other countries are being targeted in this latest wave of attacks using messages tailored to their citizens, but the UK has seen the highest number of emails.

TrendMicro said that around 800 compromised servers are being used to host the images in the emails and serve as redirector sites to the destination servers in Russia and Turkey.

A research paper issued earlier this year suggested that most ransomware is not as sophisticated as we are led to believe by the scammers and the cyber-security industry itself.