Malware scammers send emails and social media messages at random with links purporting to be on something topical—news, an event or something 'interesting'.
If you click on the link you may be taken to a fake website that looks like the real deal, complete with logos and branding of legitimate sites. In order to view the video, you will be asked to install some software, such as a ‘codec’, to be able to access the video format. If you download the software, your computer will be infected with malware (malicious software).
Another way of delivering a malware scam is through websites and pop-ups that offer 'free' file downloads, including music, movies and games, or free access to content, such as adult sites.
Malware scams work by installing software on your computer that allows scammers to access your files or watch what you are doing on your computer. Scammers use this information to steal your personal details and commit fraudulent activities. They may make unauthorised purchases on your credit card, or use your identity to open accounts such as banking, telephone or energy services. They might take out loans or carry out other illegal business under your name, or even sell your information to other scammers for further illegal use.
Ransom ware is a type of malware that blocks or limits access to your computer or files, and demands a ransom be paid to the scammer for them to be unlocked.
Infected computers often display messages to convince you into paying the ransom. Scammers may pretend to be from the police and claim you have committed an illegal activity and must pay a fine, or they may simply demand payment for a 'key' to unlock your computer.
If you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee your computer will be unlocked.