You work until late at night, carefully save all the updates to meet the deadline, shut down your PC and go to be bed relived. When you reach work nest morning, you find yourself locked out of your own data files!
2016, which indisputably proved to be the ‘Year of Ransomware’ has had countless stories of Ransomware victims caught unawares by the vicious malware. For the uninitiated, Ransomware is one of the most sophisticated malware programs that hijacks data files. It locks them up and demands a ‘ransom’ from hapless victims in return for a decryption key to unlock the files.
Although most Ransomware usually encrypt data files, some locks downs Systems altogether. It uses various means do so such as emails, adware, exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated software, or through software downloads. Whatever be the medium, it never fails to spread the menace. There have been several hard-hitting as well as funny Ransomware throughout the year.
Here is a list of 5 of the most unusual Ransomware stories.
- When Attacker didn’t ask for (extra) money:
Just two days before Thanksgiving, Alina’s mother’s System was infected with CryptoWall Ransomware. Hackers had demanded $500 in Bitcoins. If she failed to pay the said amount within a week’s time, ransom was to doubled and if she failed to pay even then, her data (a total of 5,726 files) would have been lost forever.
The lady was not familiar with Bitcoin payment procedure and failed to pay the amount in the first week. She then requested the hacker not to increase the amount. Surprisingly, he accepted the request and she ended up paying $500. Talk about criminals with a heart of Gold. Well, probably Silver in this case!
- When Ransomware veiled itself as a security firm:
Early this year, DJ Singh, a Digital Architect at Wipro Digital was attacked by Ransomware. He clicked on a link to download a whitepaper from a well-known security solution. The whitepaper actually turned out to be hosted on a compromised Ad-Server that downloaded a strain of Locky Ransomware. He says, “I later learned that the Ad-Server Brent Media’s domain had just expired, and was picked up immediately by the individuals behind this particular Ransomware attack.”
The strain did its work – encrypted all his files and demanded ransom. However, Singh didn’t fall prey to it. He had backup of most of his data. He recovered several files from offline backup. He also ran some codes developed by White Hats to restore other folders. He then learnt that the ransomware was poorly written and many of the encryption key codes were poorly hidden within the Ransomware itself.
- When a user sacrificed his 2 years’ research:
An individual worked on his academic papers for 2 years and saved it on his System. Just before his paper was due for presentation, hackers attacked his computer. All his files along with his research paper encrypted and he didn’t have any backup. If he did pay a ransom or took some other way out, is not known but if he indeed did lose his paper, it must have been a huge blow for him
- When a ‘click’ extorted money: Amanda is one those cautious users who had studied about cyber security stories. She is tech-savvy and takes precautions while using the internet. However, she was victim of a phishing scam.
She had clicked on a link mentioned in phishing email. As soon as she clicked on the rogue link, hackers managed to get hold on her account details. She immediately realized that something went wrong with her computer but before she could do anything, hackers contacted her bank and managed to extort £240 before her card was frozen.
- When Ransomware hackers use public shaming as a tactic: The Dark Reading, a security solution reads in one of its recent articles, “The porn apps taking blackmail selfies is just a hint of the dark direction ransomware is likely to take in the coming months. In another example, the latest version of CryptoWall and other similar strains have upped the ante by threatening to not only leave users without access to their data but also to publish it online if they don’t answer the criminal’s demands. Now users won’t just be desperate to save data. In many instances they’ll be so anxious to save face they will gladly fork over their dough.”
So there isn’t any story with this one yet, but a future prospect is given. We hope this doesn’t turn out to be true. Such blackmailing will not only strengthen powers that ransomware hackers possess, but also will largely affect privacy.
Ransomware attacks are proliferating unimaginably. Coming year might come along with some more serious threats. We hope security researchers come up with sure solutions for these robust malware program and innocent users aren’t harmed anymore.
Above all, we highly recommend all user to take offline backup of their data. Even if they are attacked with any such attack, they won’t end up becoming a victim. You can use Ransomware Protector for this purpose.