Thursday, May 26, 2005

New Hostage-Taking Virus Virus Out There

Trojan holds PC files for ransom

A unique new kind of malicious threat which locks up files on a PC then demands money in return for unlocking them has been identified. The program, Trojan.Pgpcoder, installs itself on a vulnerable computer after users visit certain websites. It exploits a known vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE).

Net security firm Symantec said the program had not spread quickly, but was another example of rising criminal extortion activity on the net. The malware - harmful software - was first identified by US net security firm Websense.

Ransom note

The program, once it installs itself unbeknown to a user, triggers the download of an encoder application which searches for common types of files on a computer and networked drives to encrypt.

When a file is encrypted, usually for security and privacy purposes, it can only be decrypted with specific instructions. The trojan replaces a user's original files with locked up ones, so that they are inaccessible. It then leaves a "ransom note" in a text file.

Instructions to release the files are only handed over when a ransom fee is paid, according to Websense. The electronic note left on the computer gives details of how to meet the demands via an online account.

[...]


I think I picked up a virus a coupe of months ago and it is a horrible feeling. I had to buy anti-virus software and think between that and repeated spyware and adware scans, I got rid of it, but my computer has never been the same since then.

I think hackers and virus people are . . . I don't know what word to use. "Evil" comes to mind. Most peoples computers are their lives. It's just wrong.

Now, to catch a virus and then have to pay to get your stuff back: now, that is cold.

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