Ransomware attacks grow as one of main profitable cyber scams for malware authors. Ransomware that locks a computer and uses law enforcement imagery to intimidate victims has spread from Eastern Europe to Western Europe, the United States, and Canada over the past year. The scam has been copied and professionalized from initial early attacks, with established online criminal gangs now branching out into the scheme. Each gang has separately developed or bought their own different version of the ransomware. This malware is highly profitable, with as many as 2.9 percent of compromised users paying out. An investigation into one of the smaller players in this scam identified 68,000 compromised computers in just one month, which could have resulted in victims being defrauded of up to $400,000 USD. A larger gang, using malware called Reveton, was detected attempting to infect 500,000 computers over a period of 18 days. Given the number of different gangs operating ransomware scams, a conservative estimate is that over $5 million dollars a year is being extorted from victims. The real number is, however, likely much higher.
Ransomware is not new.
A paper entitled “Cryptovirology: Extortion-Based Security Threats and Countermeasures,” written by security experts at Columbia University and IBM, clearly outlined the concept back in 1996. In the past, though, data kidnappers targeted businesses rather than individuals. In March 2006, ransomware known as Crypzip or Zippo circulated to private users on the Internet. Recipients of the Trojan horse program also received an e-mail ransom note demanding $300, to be paid by electronic transfer, for the key required to unlock all their files.
How Does Ransomware Infect Computers?
A ranomware program can be installed from an e-mail attachment, an infected program, or a compromised or malicious websites. Besides, the newer type of ransomware uses Trojans to spread out as well.
Ransomware Found as of now:
FBI moneypak virus, PCeU virus (aka Metropolitan Police Ukash virus), Malex ransomware, Citadel Reventon Malware, United States Cyber Security virus, Your computer is locked for violating the Law of Great Britain virus, DOJ virus, File Encryption Virus, SGAE virus, An Garda Síochána. Ireland’s National Police Service virus, ISCA 2012 virus, Automated Information Control System virus, ACCDFISA Protection Program ransomware, Celas ransomware, Votre ordinateur est bloque! Gendarmerie Ukash virus, FBI Ultimate Game Card virus, Canadian Police Association Virus, Urausy virus/ransomware, Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité Virus, Bundesamt fur Polizei Virus, Canadian Police Cybercrime Investigation Department Virus, GEMA: Your computer has been locked virus, All Activity on This Computer Has Been Recorded-Fake FBI Warning infection, Den Syenska Polisen IT-Sakerhet Ransomware, Bundes Polizei Ukash virus, Australian Federal Police Ukash Virus, Anonymous virus, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) virus, Federal Computer Crime Unit Virus, IRMA (BSA) virus, Northern Constabulary E-Crime Unit Virus, Federal Department of Justice Virus, EUROPOL European Law Enforcement Agency Ransomeware, Austria Police Ukash Virus, Sacem Police National Ransomware, Luxembourg Police Cybercriminalite Department Scam, Norsk Politi Institutt for Cybercrime Scam, Politie Eenheid Voor De Bestruding Cybercrime Scam, Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité Virus, Stop Online Piracy Automatic Protection System virus, Windows Antipiracy Ukash Virus, BSA virus, etc.
Common Symptoms of Recent Ransomware Infections
1. Sneaky infiltration
2. Desktop and the OS is locked up.
3. Fraudulent authority message appears with a fraudulent claim
4. Internet redirects to a fake web page of certain local authorities and asks for a payment to unlock your computer system (Online complaint bureau depends on user’s IP location)
5. Troubles with safe mode rebooting & running
How to Prevent Ransomware Infections
Ransomware schemes tend to be more tricky with seemingly logical words and therefore, everyone should just be aware and take extra caution when encountering such nasty infections those may cause the loss of important files and even potentials for funds or privacy loss. Thus, precaution comes to be the first and foremost savvy choice for such tricks online. Be careful and safe online.
1. Practice cautious browsing online
Refrain from opening an unexpected email-attachment and take extra care when clicking on a suspicious link to open a webpage. You may get your online activities better secured if you turn on security features of browsers. See detailed guide to enable security features of IE, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome here.
2. Get your computer well-protected
Most antivirus vendors have signatures that can block the known types of ransomware. A powerful suite for computer protection online usually at least embraces trusted antivirus, antimalware and firewall, more or less depending on the specific situation and needs. (By the way, the antimalware tool- Anvi Smart Defender may fit to your best bet if you have not such a tool yet.)
3. Back up data regularly
It is always a good habit to back up data on a regular basis in case of any accidents happens to cause the loss of data.
In conclusion, to protect against future manifestations of data kidnapping—and many other online crimes, experts urge that users back up data regularly, practice cautious browsing and refrain from opening unexpected e-mail attachments, apart from avail of reliable online security guard there.