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Beware PowerLocker Ransomware
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User Rank: Apprentice
1/9/2014 | 1:58:06 PM
Re: Ransomware targets?
I spoke with small business owner over the holidays that got hit by one of these. They backup once each day, but the malware hit right before a major backup. Their IT guy looked it over and said it would actually be cheaper and less risky to just pay the ransom -- and so they did.

So there's an example of who pays and why. However, I don't think any type of targeting is done. That would require work. Instead, they try to hit everyone through system vulnerabilities, mass emails, etc.

User Rank: Apprentice
1/8/2014 | 6:17:45 AM
Re: Ransomware targets?

Who's paying these ransomware threats? I'm not aware of any psychological studies (i.e. who's most at risk), but as noted in the story, at least one police department, and no doubt anyone else who doesn't mind coughing up $200 or whatever it costs to make the problem go away are likely payers.

Like a lot of scams, criminals use a shotgun approach, and hit as many people as possible -- young, old, and everywhere in between. If even a fraction of these victims pay, then the attackers hit payday.

Of course, ransomware has that added wrinkle that people's personal data -- photos, emails, documents -- might get deleted, unless they pay. In addition, PowerLocker's creator touted the ability to lock the PC, disabling the Windows Task manager, the use of control-alt-delete, or any attempt to hid the ransom screen. Simply being able to use their PC again would likely scare a lot of people into paying up. 

User Rank: Apprentice
1/8/2014 | 6:16:05 AM
Re: Ransomware targets?

Great tip, which applies regardless of device or platform (i.e. desktop, laptop, or mobile device -- especially Androids). One feature being touted by PowerLocker's developer, notably, is the ability to encrypt not only a PC hard drive, but also connected devices, meaning that any attached backup drives might also get encrypted (and the unencrypted personal data then deleted).

Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2014 | 5:50:18 PM
Re: Ransomware targets?
I just had a discussion over the holdays with an older relative who is a gifted amateur photographer. He doesn't upload his photos to Picasa or any other cloud service. He has a big box of thumb drives, but mostly, they're on a PC that's probably running XP. It was a bit terrifying.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2014 | 4:09:03 PM
Re: Ransomware targets?
This is another reason to maintain multiple disk backups, some of which are off-network and offsite.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 3:01:12 PM
Ransomware targets?
Lorna Garey raised a good point recently: Who actually pays ransomware threats? Mat, are they targeting a specific type of user? For instance, preying on older users as many phish scams do?

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