Some of the world’s leading cryptographers are concerned about the increasing number of malicious programs that hold computers and mobile phones to ransom, in many cases by abusing the encryption algorithms they designed.
Despite law enforcement efforts to disrupt ransomware operations, the prevalence of such programs continued to grow last year, according to a report published Thursday by antivirus vendor F-Secure.
A family of ransomware programs known as Browlock, which impersonates police agencies and asks users to pay fictitious fines in order to regain control of their computers, was one of the top 10 PC threats during the second half of 2014, according to F-Secure’s statistics. An increase was also observed among the ransomware threats for Android phones.
While Browlock only prevents users from accessing their desktop, there are other ransomware programs that are much more aggressive and hard to recover from. These threats include Cryptolocker, CryptoWall and CTB-Locker, which encrypt users’ files with strong cryptographic algorithms, making it impossible to recover them in the absence of unaffected backups or without paying for the decryption keys.
In what is almost a testament to how audacious and effective these threats are, there have already been several cases of police departments being forced to pay criminals to decrypt their files.
Read the Full Article: Source – PC World