The National Crime Agency (NCA) is asking people to protect themselves from malware (malicious software) which was being spread by a computer network known as Avalanche.
Avalanche, which was set up in 2009, was used to send out millions of fraudulent emails weekly, enabling cyber criminals to steal personal information such as financial details. At any given time up to 500,000 computers worldwide are believed to have been carrying infections distributed through the Avalanche network.
On 30 November 2016 a global operation by police forces from more than 30 countries, including the UK, resulted in criminal enterprises losing access to Avalanche, www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/962-avalanche-takedown.
Malware on the Avalanche system concentrated on, but was not limited to, Windows PC vulnerabilities.
To help protect yourself from the threat of malware you should ensure that you always download the latest software and app updates (opens new window), which contain vital security upgrades to help protect your devices. Remember if an email or SMS text message is unexpected or you do not recognise the sender always take care not to open attachments, or click on links.
If you think your computer has been infected you can use the below list of free tools to scan your computer and remove the malware. Only consider downloading anti-virus from websites that you have researched and are trusted:
ESET Online Scanner
Click link and follow instructions to download: https://www.eset.com/us/online-scanner/
Click link and follow instructions to download: http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/free-tools/index.aspx
Norton Power Eraser
Click link and follow instructions to download: https://security.symantec.com/nbrt/npe.aspx
Click link and follow instructions to download: https://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_global/online-scanner