An illegitimate on-line organization called ICPP Foundation is running a scam which is effectively stealing cash and credit card information from BitTorrent users. The company ICPP claims to be a Switzerland-based law firm which specializes in helping the owners of specific international property rights to exercise their property rights globally and help protect against illegal file sharing. The company also claims to be affiliated with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). This fraudulent organization is lodging a large malware attack again BitTorrent users.
The scam presents itself in the form of a false “copywrite violation.” Once a user signs into their BitTorrent account, the victim’s screen becomes locked and they receive a warning that states, “copyright violation alert.” They are then redirected to the ICPP website, where they are informed of this false copyright violation and warned that their offenses could result in up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The ICPP scam is linked to some undiscovered malware, which at some point has been able to scan the hard drive of the victim BitTorrent users for .torrent files. After warning the user of their potential penalties, the presence of these .torrent files on the user’s hard drive is then shown to the user in an effort to make the violation warning appear legitimate. The user is then given the option to either pay a reduced fine called a “pre-trial settlement” of around $400 (comprised of a $15 legal license purchase, $249 copyright holder fine, $126 copyright protection organization fee for the use of software tracking illegal file downloads, and $2 traffic fee) in order to make the false infraction magically disappear, or they can select the option to go to court. If the victim proceeds to agree to make a payment to the company, they are guided to enter their full name, address and credit card information on a payment site which appears to be fairly legitimate. If they select the option to go to court and pursue a trial, they will be threatened to reconsider their decision with the following statement, “Performing this action is construed as a refusal to cooperate with the copyright holder and unwillingness to consider pretrial settlement. If you continue, all of the data gathered will be passes to copyright protection organizations and to the court.” We recommend canceling this action and choosing the option “pre-trial settlement.”
This very menacing malware has therefore effectively targeted BitTorrent users and scanned their software for the present of .torrent software to frighten users with evidence of their infraction. The use of legal terminology and the threat of a potentially large penalty has threatened many users into providing cash and their credit card information.
Protect yourselves from these types of threats and others by using and frequently updating your antivirus protection software.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you may be at risk:
Do you ever open emails from unknown senders?
When was the last time you scanned your computer for viruses?
Do you have a 2010 version of antivirus protection installed in your computer?
Does your computer feel bogged down? Is it running slower than the day you purchased it?
Is your personal information (such as date of birth, hometown, names of family members, etc.) readily available on any of the social networking sites?
If you answered YES to any of these questions you may be at serious risk!
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Emily Shieldings – Covers internet security issues, malicious threats, computer virus threats from all around the world, and general technology breaking news for Antivirus Help Center.