Only a few days after federal officials managed to take over and shut down the computer networks used by hackers to spread a type of ransomware called CryptoLocker, a new form of ransomware is being used by other hackers to infect the computers of unwary victims. Ransomware is a type of malware that when unwittingly downloaded on to your computer encrypts all of your data and prevents you from accessing your data unless you pay a ransom to the hackers. In most cases the hackers have been asking for $200 and if it is not paid quickly, tripled to $600. The particular malware used is called RIG and is being sold on the Internet to criminals for as little as $60 per day. In many cases the malware has been spread through malvertising, which is legitimate appearing advertising which may be found on legitimate websites unwittingly carrying the advertising without knowing it is a scam. Links in the malvertising when clicked on download the malware on to the unwary computer user’s computer.
This is a good time to extend the warning from never clicking on links in emails unless you are sure that they are legitimate to never clicking on any links until you are convinced that they are legitimate. In the case of the spreading of RIG, it was malvertising that appeared on advertising on legitimate websites so many people trusted the advertisements. Unfortunately, merely because an advertisement appears on a legitimate website does not mean that the advertisement is legitimate. In addition, other safeguards you should be taking include backing up all of your data and maintaining your anti-malware and anti-virus software up to date with the latest security patches.