Ransomware is a term we’ve heard a lot in recent years, no thanks to the starter of the craze, Cryptolocker. Previously viruses and malware infected a system and caused damage either for a strategic purpose or because someone thought it would be fun. Ransomware is a little mix of the two, by encrypting people’s files and then selling them the key to unlocking the files people are charged hundreds of pounds just to retrieve those family photos and essays that you’ve spent months working on. Sometimes people get paid, sometimes people reuse a backup and sometimes people miscode the malware and ruin lives. The latest ransomware though combines several pieces of malware together to create a rather nasty conclusion.
First your system is infected with Pony, a nasty piece of malware that harvests usernames and passwords from your system, effectively giving the creator access to your online accounts. Paypal, eBay, that blog site you write for occasionally, all gone in a matter of seconds.
The second part of the plan uses those log in details to access servers and systems to inject the malware into their systems, meaning your log in details could be spreading the very same software you’re a victim of.
The next part of the plan is a redirect, going to google? Not anymore, you find yourself going to this search page we’ve created that involves some rather nasty code called the Angler exploit kit.
As with most things with the word exploit in their name, this is not a good thing. By scanning for security flaws in your software and even your built-in Microsoft processes, you quickly find CryptoWall 4.0 injected into your system. Cryptowall then avoids your antivirus software and quickly decimates your system by encrypting your files and even goes so far as to rename files and move them around, making it difficult to even understand what you’ve lost.
We recommend updating your system on a regular business, including the software you use and making sure that you complete regular virus scans. Remember to keep a back-up of important files, both offline and online so if something happens you’ve never truly lost it.