NI firms targeted in online extortion racket

The online gang demands ransoms from companies after threatening cyber attacks
The online gang demands ransoms from companies after threatening cyber attacks

The PSNI has warned businesses that a gang is targeting firms in the Province with an internet-based extortion racket.

The force’s Cyber Crime Centre warned any firms affected not to pay any money which is demanded, and to help them collect evidence against the criminals by saving any correspondence.

It said a “known online criminal group” is behind the activities, which involve “the threat of a cyber attack being inflicted on the company”.

The police said such attacks purport to “disrupt or shut down company web services or networks”.

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant of the Cyber Crime Centre said: “PSNI, working with partner agencies, are investigating these threats and we would like to provide the following advice to any company who is targeted:

“1. Report the incident to PSNI (101, or via the PSNI Cyber Incident Reporting portal on the PSNI website).

“2. Preserve any email communications (including e-mail headers).

“3. Record the date, time and details of any communications or network activity.”

The fourth and final piece of advice is simply: “Do not pay any ransom”.