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posted by LaminatorX on Sunday January 04 2015, @11:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the drive-by-crypto dept.

Alina Simone writes in the NYT that her mother received a ransom note on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.“Your files are encrypted,” it announced. “To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay 500 USD.” If she failed to pay within a week, the price would go up to $1,000. After that, her decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the 5,726 files on her PC — all of her data would be lost forever. "By the time my mom called to ask for my help, it was already Day 6 and the clock was ticking," writes Simone. "My father had already spent all week trying to convince her that losing six months of files wasn’t the end of the world (she had last backed up her computer in May). It was pointless to argue with her. She had thought through all of her options; she wanted to pay." Simone found that it appears to be technologically impossible for anyone to decrypt your files once CryptoWall 2.0 has locked them and so she eventually helped her mother through the process of making a cash deposit to the Bitcoin “wallet” provided by her ransomers and she was able to decrypt her files. “From what we can tell, they almost always honor what they say because they want word to get around that they’re trustworthy criminals who’ll give you your files back," says Chester Wisniewski.

The peddlers of ransomware are clearly businesspeople who have skillfully tested the market with prices as low as $100 and as high as $800,000, which the city of Detroit refused to pay. They are appropriating all the tools of e-commerce and their operations are part of “a very mature, well-oiled capitalist machine" says Wisniewski. “I think they like the idea they don’t have to pretend they’re not criminals. By using the fact that they’re criminals to scare you, it’s just a lot easier on them.”

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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday January 05 2015, @04:05AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Monday January 05 2015, @04:05AM (#131749) Journal

    There are alternatives to Windows, Mac OS X and Linux..

    In the end there needs to be some competence behind the screen regardless of OS.

    Starting Score:    1  point
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    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by keplr on Monday January 05 2015, @07:39AM

    by keplr (2104) on Monday January 05 2015, @07:39AM (#131791) Journal

    Tyranny of the default, which I think was coined by Steve Gibson, means that the default environment must be secure because the vast majority of users don't ever touch the settings. They don't customize or adjust hardly anything. This is why there was such a kerfuffle over the Do Not Track header. Advertisers knew if it was on by default, it would stay on because no one goes into the settings and considers it. If it's off (or undefined) by default, no one will go into the settings and consider turning it on.

    If your environment required the user to take over after install and actively participate in the security of the machine, you've just created a guaranteed fail state some time in the future. Most users can't be trusted to do this, and don't NEED to be given this level of trust to accomplish their work.

    I don't respond to ACs.