Thursday, July 10, 2014

Malware, botnets, a problem that lives on

Malware and botnet attacks are not going away anytime soon. Malware is a lot harder to get rid of than the FBI thought. In May, there was a report that the FBI put a malware out of business. The malware, Cryptolocker, operated through a highjacked computer network, a botnet, which spread a virus which locked up  files of at least 400,000 people, mostly Americans. Victims were ordered to pay $300 in three days to get their files back. Few paid, but estimates are that the criminals still made $4 million plus from victims who did pay. The FBI cut off communication between the botnet and the victims. All the criminals need to do is update the malware and they can begin anew. If the criminals read the news or are tech savy they are already aware of this option. Worse news, the files of those who did not pay cannot be retrieved because the FBI cut communication between the two.

Dell SecureWorks took a snapshot of the entire network and estimates 9,798 devices are infected with the malware virus, about half of these are American. The estimate is that one malware Cryptowall is being paid $150,000/week. Another malware, CryptoDefense, is also making money. The servers used by these criminal enterprises are hidden to avoid law enforcement. Foreign countries with ineffective governments are likely the locations, examples suggested are Ukraine or Thailand. It took some smarts to figure all this out in advance. Perhaps the FBI will capture some of these tech criminals and get them to work state-side someday. To read more about it click here http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/09/technology/security/ransomware/index.html

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