Lake Twp. police give advice on malware threat issues

MILLBURY — In recent days, there have been malware threats made by Russians in connection with the invasion of Ukraine. These threats have been aimed at the United States and other countries who have voiced their opposition to the invasion. Russian officials have said the spread of malware would be a payback for this opposition.

Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer said it is rare that his department would issue any advisories as a result of an international incident.

“These threats could affect anyone in our country, including citizens of Lake Township and the surrounding area,” Hummer said in a department news release. “If a computer becomes infected with malware, it might result in bank accounts being emptied and the loss of one’s life savings.”

Malware is used to infect a computer or cellphone with a virus that allows others to garner personal information, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, bank account and credit card information, from those devices. That personal data is used to perform fraudulent activity and identity theft that usually leads to the loss of money.

“These people can use emails and texts to introduce malware into these electronic devices. Once a person who is a target of malware opens up the text or email which contains the malware and virus, it may be too late to stop it,” Hummer said.

Many people leave their computers on for convenience. Skipping the shutdown and restart process can save time, but it could expose computers to unwanted activity.

Shutting down a computer when you are about to walk away from it is only one step a person can take to avoid malware.

“When a person restarts the computer and looks at the emails that have come in, look them over closely before you open them up. We advise people not to open one up if they are not absolutely certain they trust the sender. Sometimes the sender will even copy the names of previous email senders to make it look legitimate,” Hummer said.

He urged anyone with questions to contact Ron Craig, Lake Township Police Department’s crime prevention officer and community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.