Virus poisons thousands of Swedish computers

Thousands of Swedish computers have been hit by a destructive computer virus that gains access to all files and makes it possible for the invader to empty a user's bank account in seconds.

Virus poisons thousands of Swedish computers
A computer virus has attacked thousands of Swedish computers. Photo: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

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The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB), which deals with civil defence during crises, has been called in to fight the computer virus, reported Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Thursday morning.

“What's so serious about this virus is that it is so good at hiding and causing great damage. It's moreover very difficult to remove. A complete reinstallation of the computer is necessary to get rid of it,” MSB security expert Robert Jonsson told SVT.

The virus infects computers by tricking the victim of the scam into opening an email that purports to have been sent by Swedish electronics giant Elgiganten or online music store Cdon, claiming the user has ordered thousands of kronor worth of items.

“If you get a receipt where it says you have ordered goods for loads of money, you get angry and click on the email to see what has happened. But by then it's too late,” Jan Olsson at the Swedish police's national centre for fraud told SVT.

“We don't know how many have clicked on it but it's at least more than a thousand computers,” he added.

The so-called Trojan horse virus gains access to the user's computer and saves all information, including bank login details.

“When you then later log into your online banking system, a fake homepage is opened and when you think you transfer money to a friend or pay a bill, the fraudsters are in fact emptying your account,” said Olsson.

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