Gotcha: Forget malware, now it’s “ransomware”

Let’s start the New Year on high note …

Just kidding.

NY Times ran a scary story yesterday on the latest online thievery.


It’s called “ransomware”, and here’s how it works …

Online hackers infiltrate your pc and lock down all your files with sophisticated encryption code that gets activated when you open a seemingly innocuous email attachment.

Then, “they” gotcha.

First, they encrypt all of your files … in effect, garbling them and requiring a special uber-password to un-garble them.

According to the NYT reporter, the malicious code is so sophisticated that expert anti-hackers using industrial strength security programs can’t break the code.

Your files are locked up. Period.

But, there’s a ray of hope,

When a victim boots up or tries to open a file, they get a message that says for a mere $500, “they” will graciously provide  the encryption code required to unlock the files.

But, the offer expires in a week … then, the ransom doubles to $1,000 … also a week long offer … then double it again.

Willing to pay the ransom?

Sorry, the hijackers don’t accept credit cards .. .but, not to worry, they do accept bitcoins.

Just buy enough bitcoins to pay the ransom … and transfer them to the scoundrels off-shore account.

According to the reporter, his mother got hacked … ended up paying the ransom.

The surprise ending: when she did, the hijackers really did send the code and her files were unlocked.

Call it “honor among thieves” … but don’t bank on it.

Moral of the story: back-up your files … and think before you click.

Full NYT article is worth reading.



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