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Japanese cops cuff six smut-scam ransomware suspects

Victims forced to pay stiff charges

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Japanese police have arrested six suspected cyber-crooks over a one-click billing fraud scam that allegedly targeted sweaty smut surfers.

The Kyoto-based gang allegedly used malware to run a billing fraud against victims, netting them JPY12,000,000 (about $148,800 or £96,000) in the process.

The suspected cyber-criminals are accused of crafting a devious strain of malware and embedding it into grumble-flick websites. Upon visiting said saucy sites, punters who clicked on the ‘play’ button to watch a video ended up executing a file that locks up their machine. Victims are told to either pay up to unfreeze their computer or weep over their almost unusable machine.

Rik Ferguson, a security consultant at Trend Micro, told El Reg: "It's not credit card fraud as such, more akin to billing fraud or ransomware. The website visitors are fooled into installing an executable on their system. This then demands payment for the service, the window cannot be closed or moved and continues after a reboot."

There are 118 confirmed sites related to the one-click billing fraud, a type of scam prevalent in but more or less restricted to Japan. Net security firm Trend Micro worked with the Kyoto plod, analysing the malware used as an integral part of the scam. Trend reports a four-fold increase in the con over the last 12 months alone.

Trend has published a blog post on the arrests, which discusses the wider problem of one-click billing fraud in Japan, here. ®

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