Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

6/24/2015
02:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

FBI: CryptoWall Ransomware Cost US Users $18 Million

Increasing pace of ransomware innovation likely to keep that number going up.

Between April 2014 and June 2015, the CryptoWall ransomware cost Americans over $18 million, according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The money was spent not only on ransoms, which range from $200 to $10,000 apiece, but also on "network mitigation, network countermeasures, loss of productivity, legal fees, IT services, and/or the purchase of credit monitoring services for employees or customers."

The Bureau calls CryptoWall "the most current and significant ransomware threat targeting U.S. individuals and businesses." Since April 2014, the IC3 received 992 CryptoWall-related complaints. CryptoWall originally took over as top ransomware after its more sophisticated cousin CryptoLocker went down with the GameOver ZeuS botnet last summer.

While costly for victims, ransomware is easy money for criminals. TrustWave researchers estimate that ransomware operators can earn a 1,425 percent return on investment from their activities, even if they only charge a $300 ransom and only 0.5 percent of their victims pay it.

The ransomware industry is also becoming very innovative, both with their technology and business models.

For example, the simply named "Locker" is a "sleeper" cryptoransomware that infected clients, but sat silently until springing into action on May 25. 

Researchers at Intel's McAfee Labs discovered "Tox," a ransomware-as-a-service kit for building and deploying ransomware. It's free to set up and use, but the site hosting Tox takes a 20 percent cut of any ransoms the operators rake in.

Tox and TorrentLocker (a CryptoLocker variant) use the TOR network to host ransom payment sites and accept payment in Bitcoins. The anonymity added by TOR makes it even more difficult to track down the operators of these schemes.

According to Trend Micro global threat communications manager Christopher Budd, ransomware operators have also borrowed a tactic from kidnappers. Similar to showing "proof of life," some ransomware operators will now allow victims to decrypt three files for free, to prove that their data is still intact.

Budd says the pace of innovation in ransomware has increased. "There is, sadly, some very smart thinking going on there."

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-5292
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
Leantime before versions 2.0.15 and 2.1-beta3 has a SQL Injection vulnerability. The impact is high. Malicious users/attackers can execute arbitrary SQL queries negatively affecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the site. Attackers can exfiltrate data like the users' and admini...
CVE-2020-7009
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
Elasticsearch versions from 6.7.0 to 6.8.7 and 7.0.0 to 7.6.1 contain a privilege escalation flaw if an attacker is able to create API keys. An attacker who is able to generate an API key can perform a series of steps that result in an API key being generated with elevated privileges.
CVE-2019-13495
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
In firmware version 4.50 of Zyxel XGS2210-52HP, multiple stored cross-site scripting (XSS) issues allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script via an rpSys.html Name or Location field.
CVE-2020-5291
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
Bubblewrap (bwrap) before version 0.4.1, if installed in setuid mode and the kernel supports unprivileged user namespaces, then the `bwrap --userns2` option can be used to make the setuid process keep running as root while being traceable. This can in turn be used to gain root permissions. Note that...
CVE-2019-14905
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
A vulnerability was found in Ansible Engine versions 2.9.x before 2.9.3, 2.8.x before 2.8.8, 2.7.x before 2.7.16 and earlier, where in Ansible's nxos_file_copy module can be used to copy files to a flash or bootflash on NXOS devices. Malicious code could craft the filename parameter to perform OS co...