I am a telemarketer, trying to find leads to protect people from ransomware. However, there are people out there doing the opposite, telemarketing to give you ransomware. A friend of mine has fallen victim to this.

It started with a phone call, like all good sales leads. The caller said they were from BT, a strong recognised brand and offered help to make the victims laptop work better. The caller took a firm approach, advising the victim that he had been ignoring warnings on his laptop for some time. We all get pop ups that we ignore from programs we don’t care much about, making this seem plausible.

The call was dressed up as a way of fixing the “ignored issues”. Soon Team Viewer was downloaded and screens were shared. Command prompt was opened and changes made. Files encrypted, email locked. The PST files have been removed. All thanks to CryptoLocker.

Now onto the really scary part. Halloween night, another call demanding £400 to fix the problem. £400 for an 8 digit code to un-lock CryptoLocker.

I try and download a bit of MalwareBytes to fix the issue? 1,500 issues found. None of them fix the CryptoLocker issue.

What is the next step? Call the police? You have been robbed in your own home. The Police reply, “we get hundreds of these calls, we will pass the information on”. Nice to become a statistic.

Now the laptop is in the hands of a specialist to try and unpick the CryptoLocker. More out of hope than confidence.

The lesson is, it can happen to anyone, regardless of size. The attacks are hugely well thought out and targeted. Once they have got you, it is hard to get away. You are your only defence, the police will not stop them coming for you.

Credit guest blogger – Harry Hammond