Privacy Tip #227 – Sextortion Ransomware
Criminal minds are creative, and new ransomware strains show just how creative cyber-attackers can be. A new strain of ransomware, dubbed Ransomwared, requests a different kind of payment from the victim than the typical bitcoin request. Instead of paying for the decryption of data, or to prevent cyber-attackers from releasing private photos they have obtained through the attack on the Internet, attackers using Ransomwared request that the victim send them explicit and compromising photos as payment.
This is a double whammy for the victim, depending on how vulnerable the victim might be. If the attacker has access to the victim’s data, and the data include compromising photographs, paying the attackers with additional compromising photographs is an untenable position. Providing additional photos to the attackers, which then may be leaked publicly, only adds to the problem.
Security researchers at Emsisoft report that Ransomwared is not very sophisticated, and it has published a fix to assist victims. It is a good reminder that there are fixes to many strains of ransomware which are available to the public through the No More Ransom Project.
Ransomware continues to be extremely problematic for companies and individuals. Although there is a fix to Ransomwared, it shows the lengths to which criminals will go to torture victims and exert power over them.