Ransomware causing millions of Bitcoin losses

Last June 23, 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a report detailing the significant threat of ransomware to individuals and businesses in the US. Largely known to block computer systems until money is paid, ransomware has caused huge financial blows as it has stolen millions of dollars from victims. Novice computer users or those who are not technically inclined often fall prey as they easily get alarmed by the somewhat legitimate-looking page covering their computer screen. Who would ever ignore an FBI page claiming some laws have been violated, thus a computer is locked out?  Often, victims are being asked to pay an amount ranging from $200-$10,000 to regain access to their computer.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) revealed that ransomware has continued infecting devices worldwide. The most notable variant it has identified is CryptoWall which is designed to really impact bitcoins. In fact, there are over 900 complaints filed to the IC3 between April 2014 and June 2015. Do you happen to know how much damage it has caused financially? Well, a total of over $18 million has been reported as stolen by CryptoWall. Analysts reported that bitcoins are being targetted by criminals due to the digital currency’s characteristics. Notably, bitcoins can be easily transferred from one person to another while maintaining a high level of security and anonymity throughout the transaction.

 

What exactly is a ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malicious software that blocks a user from accessing his computer system or files. It often requires a victim to pay a monetary amount to regain access to the blocked content. Other popular ransomwares are Reveton and CryptoLocker.

 

Implications

A victim might start asking himself how or when he got infected by a malware when his computer security protection has been turned on the whole time. The sad truth is: there’s no perfect security program that could prevent malwares from getting into a computer or device. It’s therefore very important to be extra careful on the links clicked on or web sites opened while surfing the web. It doesn’t mean security programs are no good, as they still add a layer of security in the computer

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Internet security company Damballa Inc. found out that a compromised computer that performs click fraud becomes a recipient of a ransomware. By definition, click fraud is a form of fraud wherein a computer program imitates a web user clicking on ads. This is done to generate money per clicks made. During Damballa’s research, the initial fraud infection they detected transformed into what’s known as CryptoWall in less than two hours. This just illustrates how easy it is for computers to be compromised nowadays.

 

Conclusion

This news is actually nothing new as ransomware has long been raised as a security concern among bitcoin users. What’s important is for everyone to be vigilant and skeptical all the time when getting online. Else, one false move may make things in the computer or device irreparable.

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