PETALING JAYA - The new malware that infects and locks computer data until a ransom is paid can just as easily infect smartphones, warned CyberSecurity Malaysia.
Its chief executive Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab said smartphone users should be vigilant against the Ransomware malware.
"Four cases of Ransomware on computers have been reported to our Cyber999 Help Centre in January alone," he said.
Dr Amirudin said the incidents involved two companies and two individual users.
In comparison, there were three cases last year, and just two cases in 2013.
"As yet, CyberSecurity Malaysia has not received any reports on smartphones infected with the Ransomware but prevention is better than cure," he said in an interview.
He noted that among the ways computers and cellphones could get infected was through email attachments containing the malware, which would install itself.
A pop-up message on the screen would state that the PC was locked and all files encrypted, besides a US$100 (RM363) "penalty" for visiting "an illegal website".
Following the incidents, CyberSecurity issued an advisory to all Internet users, including organisations, about the threat.
Dr Amirudin said victims should never follow the payment instructions but contact Cyber999 for assistance.
"Other than assisting the victim, the report will also provide us with vital information which will enable us to better tackle or mitigate the problem," he said.
He said Internet users should have up-to-date anti-virus software and not click on unsolicited web links in an email.
Dr Amirudin also advised users to perform regular backups of all critical information to limit the impact of data or system loss and to help expedite the recovery process.
Questions or reports could be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-300-88-2999 (during business hours) or +6019 2665850.