Internet users are being targeted by a new breed of ransom threat, which uses nuisance advertising that can only be removed if the user pays up.
Symantec Security Response has reported an evolution in the technology used by fraudsters, with the discovery of Trojan.Ransompage, a nuisance tactic that is deployed by rogue anti-virus programs in an attempt to extract a ransom from its victims.
Once infected with the trojan, the victim's browser will display a persistent advertisement on every web page visited by the user of the infected computer. The advert remains on the page as the victim scrolls down, Symantec said.
"The ad is written in Russian and states that in order to remove the ad, the victim must send a premium rate text message to the number provided and the user will receive a code to remove the ad. The premise is that the victim will become so frustrated or embarrassed by the ad that they will succumb to the pressure and send an SMS to the premium rate telephone number, from which the cybercriminals make money," Symantec warned.