Online Extortionists Are Using Encryption as a Ransom Weapon

Most of the time we discuss encryption as a way to protect ourselves online , but an increasingly popular form of digital attack uses it as an extortion tool. Criminals are stealing personal files, encrypting them, and hold them hostage until their targets pay for the decryption key.

A report from security firm Symantec details a sharp rise “crypto-ransomware,” its term for this devious form of online crime, noting that these incidents were 45 times more common in 2014 than 2013, with over 340,000 people and organization unable to access files that had been encrypted by extortionists. Usually the extortionists ask their targets to pay in Bitcoin on a website accessible by Tor.

To infect computers, would-be criminals will send malicious e-mail attachments that look like bills or invoices. If you are foolish enough to open the attachment, you’re snared. It’s possible we’re seeing a rise in crypto-ransomware attacks because phishing emails where you’re tricked into opening a malware attachment or bad link are a major way that people get hacked .

Read the Full Article: Source – Gizmodo

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