An emerging ransomware variant known as Popcorn Time adds a nasty incentive to the malware by offering users a free decryption key if they successfully infect two others and force them to pay the ransom. The infected user gets two options, the easy way which entails the payment of 1 Bitcoin (about £620), or the malicious way of sending referral links to other users. If the users chose the “malicious way” and two of their referrals pay the ransom they will be sent a free decryption key as per the instructions displayed by the ransomware.
Doxware is the latest variant of ransomware and it is the most terrifying form of malware we have come across to date. Doxxing is the online practice of researching and broadcasting identifiable information (e.g. name, address, telephone number, social security number, etc.) of individuals or organisations. When Doxxing and ransomware are combined, this lethal combination is referred to as Doxware.
Not only will Doxware encrypt the victims file, it also collects their personal files, uploads these files to a server and threatens to make these files publicly available if the ransom fee is not paid within a short time frame. More worryingly, the cyber criminals may have permanent access to your personal data and can demand a ransom more than once. Even if you do give in to blackmail, there is no guarantee that the files they have copied will be deleted.
Having seen some decent returns on ransomware campaigns in the recent past, cybercriminals continue to develop new variants with a view to squeezing victims for cash. Hot on the heels of Dridex comes a Locky, another macro-driven virus, this time capable of destroying large swathes of corporate data.
Among the several types of attacks that can be leveraged against your company’s IT framework, ransomware has the potential to be the costliest. Unlike some smaller types of viruses where the only damaging effect is to your peace of mind, ransomware takes internet hacking to a whole different level.
As you may expect, there’s a heavy price a pay for your actions if your computers are infected with ransomware. And the cost of clicking on a malicious link, opening an infected attachment or visiting a social network site can costs you upwards of €600. And that’s if you decide to comply with the hackers’ request.
In 2013, one of the major problems in the hacker world was the popular ransomware called CryptoLocker. The makers made away with about 3 million (USD) and through half a million infections. (You can read more about its effect here.)
However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll start from the top.