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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: 1) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday January 05 2015, @04:10AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Monday January 05 2015, @04:10AM (#131752) Homepage Journal

    I bought her a brand new 32 GB, Corsair Flash Voyager, then offered to teach her to how to use it to perform backups. She just got angry with me.

    I figure she wants me to back up her computer for her. "Mom, I'm not always going to be around to take care of your computer for you. Hard disks drop dead all the time, you'd lose everything you've ever done on it."

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05 2015, @06:59AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05 2015, @06:59AM (#131782)

    Stick a 32GB drive at the back and: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/set-change-automatic-backup-settings [microsoft.com]

    Won't help if PC gets badly zapped/burned up but still better than nothing.

     

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05 2015, @02:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05 2015, @02:39PM (#131847)

    If the drive is permanently attached to the computer, then all that will get you is your backups encrypted by the malware as well.

  • (Score: 1) by Gertlex on Monday January 05 2015, @03:13PM

    by Gertlex (3966) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 05 2015, @03:13PM (#131863)

    Seems like in this case they only encrypted certain files (way more than 5,726 files in C:\Windows alone). They want you to still be able to use the computer to make the payment... Clearly the solution is to stick all of your files (or backups, hah!) in that and similar folders!

  • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Monday January 05 2015, @06:27AM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday January 05 2015, @06:27AM (#131777)

    Gets mad at you because she is lazy. Every user ever.

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh