Scareware – Don’t be Held to Ransom
Warning: Increased Threat from Ransomware. The BBC has today highlighted a growing problem with “ransomware”. This is not industry news in itself, this malicious software has been around for years, but its current alarming growth and activity is. The BBC quote Raj Samani, Intel Security’s chief technology officer in Europe, the Middle East and Africa who said there has been “enormous growth in ransomware certainly over the last 12 months” and who believes the UK to be particularly vulnerable. With ransomware hackers now attacking all of the popular operating systems even machines using Linux it seems that no one is immune to attack.
Generally ransomware invades your PC in the guise of cleverly faked rogue antivirus software which alerts you to numerous issues they have detected on your system. You are then advised that by installing their clean-up tools you will be able to remove the issues. Once you have installed the fake program you are then besieged by pop up messages which prevent you from using your PC for anything meaningful. This latest activity now actually locks away your files and holds your data to ransom until you pay for its release, often closing the screen down and leaving a digital “ransom note” on your desktop for payment by voucher or bitcoin.
The encryption methods used by the hackers on your personal files can make the situation very difficult to resolve and of course paying a ransom fee does not simply make the problem go away there will undoubtedly be a further cost. There are reported incidents of ransom leading to further demands and or restored files not having fully restored functionality. As with most things, prevention is better than cure.