A sophisticated screen pops up titled “Police Cybercrime Investigation Department. Your computer has been locked.” The scam has kept local computer repair shops busy.

Russian hackers lock up Campbell River computers

More than 25 customers have brought their crippled computers into computer shop

Russian hackers claiming to represent a “Canadian Pacific” police agency are attacking Campbell River computers in an attempt to trick victims into paying a $100 fine.

Sue Johnson at Odyssey Computers says in two weeks more than 25 customers have brought their crippled computers into her shop to have the malware removed.

She says her technicians are having a 75 per cent success rate doing the repairs without having to wipe the hard drive and re-install programs from scratch.

RCMP Staff Sergeant Troy Beauregard says the police were alerted to the scam Oct. 17. “The virus locks your computer and displays a sophisticated screen with the title: ‘Police Cybercrime Investigation Department. Your computer has been locked,’” he says.

“Beside the title is a coat of arms similar to the RCMP coat of arms called ‘Canadian Pacific Police Service.’ This is not an existing police agency. The virus takes over your webcam and displays a live streaming video of yourself on the screen along with other messages and instructions.”

Beauregard says the hackers “suggest you pay a $100 Canadian currency fine and your computer will be unlocked.

The right side of the screen gives you options for payment. This is a virus. Do not attempt to pay to unlock your computer. Contact a local computer repair shop and make arrangements to take your computer in to be repaired. Local computer companies know how to fix this virus.”

Johnson says: “These Russian hackers hijack innocent websites and if you happen to visit one of these sites when it is under their control you get this download. A week ago it was hotel and travel sites.

Next week it will be something different. These hackers are making billions.”

Beauregard asks the public to please report this or other computer related frauds to: www.antifraudcentre.ca.