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July 15, 2016

This Week in Ransomware: One Lies, One is Fail Proof and the Other is Very Cheap

It’s been a busy week on the ransomware front, with several new developments you need to be aware of.

Here’s a rundown of the latest happenings:

Sneaky Ranscam: Do you think it’s better to comply with hackers and pay a ransomware fee? If so, there is a new type of ransomware on the market called Ranscam that may change your mind.

Ranscam appears to work like any other type of ransomware. First, it encrypts a group of files and sends a message to the end user informing him or her that the files are locked. Then, Ranscam threatens to delete the information if a fee is not paid in time.

According to CSO, though, Ranscam actually deletes the encrypted information early on in the process—before the ransom notification is even posted. As a result, end users are tricked into paying with no hope of ever receiving their data.

So, keep this in the back of your mind if you ever receive a ransomware threat. While Ranscam is still in its early stages, it’s a stark reminder that even if you pay a ransom it does not guarantee you will get your money back.

Cheap Stampado: Threatpost reported that a new strand of ransomware, called Stampado, is currently selling on the dark Web (more info on that here) for just $39. And that is for a lifetime license. Compared to the $3,000 that CryptoLocker was going for last year, that is frighteningly inexpensive. It was created with the intention of putting ransomware into the hands of end users who do not want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for the software. Fortunately, there have been no instances of Stampodo spotted online...yet.

Fail Proof Locky: There is a new version of Locky making its rounds across the Internet. Locky, in case you’re not aware, is one of the most popular forms of ransomware. According to PC World, this new version can encrypt files even if the program cannot establish a connection with its command-and-control sever.

What this means is that old security practices like using a firewall, or turning your computers off when they are not in use, are no longer viable methods of protecting your devices. Hackers can still cause chaos even without having a connection to the machine.

So as you can see, the ransomware problem is not going away. More and more, it’s being used to attack business networks. According to ZDNet, corporate users account for more than one in 10 infections. Ransomware is now being aimed at businesses of all sizes and industries, and it’s striking with alarming frequency. And as these examples show, ransomware is constantly evolving.

Make sure that your entire business knows about the dangers of ransomware, and instruct them to use caution when surfing the Web, downloading files and opening email. It’s also vital to back up your business’s information, so that if your organization does get hit with an attack you will not lose any files.

A new breed of hacktrepeneurs has awoken and they have little to fear and everything to gain by infecting as many companies as possible and extorting money from them. Apex Technology Services stands ready to protect your company regardless of whether it’s located in New York CityWhite Plains, New York; Connecticut; Australia; Europe; or anywhere else. Our full suite of cybersecurity and IT support services is at your disposal, enabling you to spend less time worrying about and more time growing your business.

In addition, our new Cybersecurity Compliance Certification for law firms will help keep your legal practice from becoming the next Panama Papers victim. This baseline cybersecurity audit for the legal industry should be considered seriously by all law firms.

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