15 Apr 2010

Safety first

A new type of malware infects PCs using file-share sites and publishes the user's net history on a public website before demanding a fee for its removal.

The Japanese Trojan virus installs itself on computers using a popular file-share service called Winni, used by up to 200m people.

It targets those downloading illegal copies of games in the Hentai genre, an explicit form of anime.

The virus, known as Kenzero, masquerades as a game installation screen, and requests the PC owner's personal details.

It then takes screen grabs of the user's web history and publishes it online in their name, before sending an e-mail or pop-up screen demanding a credit card payment of 1500 yen (£10) to "settle your violation of copyright law" and remove the webpage.

Also a fictitious organization calling itself the ICPP copyright foundation issues threatening pop-ups and letters after a virus searches the computer hard drive for illegal content - regardless of whether it actually finds anything.

It offers a "pre-trial settlement" fine of $400 (£258) payable by credit card, and warns of costly court cases and even jail sentences if the victim ignores the notice.

However rather than take the money, the outfit sells on the credit card details.

"If you find you are getting pop-ups demanding payments to settle copyright infringement lawsuits, ignore them and use a free online anti-malware scanner immediately to check for malware."