Other issues in this category (13)
Every bit counts
Friday, March 24, 2017
What kind of IT security news can make a reader's blood run cold? Perhaps, a report that a company has suffered millions in damages because its data was encrypted by ransomware?
Between June 4 and June 21, a ransomware maker (supposedly the author of CryptXXX) received 70 bitcoins. This equals 73,106.60 USD. That equates to 129010,588 USD per month.
The ransom amount is 1 bitcoin which currently equals about 1,048 USD. The ransom must be paid within seven days. The people behind the attack are posing as a group of IT students. They explain that their country has been going through a crisis since 2011, with one million people killed and five million displaced. According to the hackers, each of their team members has lost someone in their family, and the writer of the message lost his parents and sister in 2015. The group gave their apologies to their victims and claimed that this was their only way to survive.
The Tewksbury Police Department (Massachusetts, USA) found itself in an embarrassing situation. All the working files on the department's computers were encrypted by an unknown application. To get the decryption key, the police were told they would have to pay 500 USD in bitcoins.
The criminals who unleashed encryption ransomware on computers in the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center demanded 3.6 million USD to unlock all the machines. The ransomware brought the hospital to a complete standstill, and its doctors had to switch to landline phones and fax machines, and do real paperwork. Eventually, the parties agreed on 17,000 USD.
Against a backdrop of large ransoms, publicity, police investigations, information security conferences, and basic protection recommendations for users… Criminals are making money in different ways without much fuss and noise—which means without garnering any attention from the press and, therefore, from ordinary users.
According to security researchers, damages from ransomware attacks have reached 1 billion USD, while losses caused by various adware schemes in the USA alone are estimated at 31 billion USD.
At the current rate, bot traffic generates 1 cent per visit on a target site. If a botnet operator makes 100,000 computers visit a certain site and imitate user behaviour, he can earn about 1,000 USD.
Let's go to updates.drweb.com—an address our regular readers know well, and let's compare the number of adware-type programs that exist with
the number of encryption ransomware programs that exist.
The Anti-virus Times recommends
It’s a good idea to protect your system from all kinds of malware, not just the programs that are in the news. We hope that regular readers of the Anti-virus Times don’t need our advice to understand that
PS. Five to ten people get bitten by sharks every year. Meanwhile, gnat and mosquito bites take about 600,000 human lives a year. Don't neglect to protect yourself from minor threats!