Attack Your Friends to Save Your Data

14 Dec

Ransomware is a great tool for hackers who want to generate quick cash – by creating an infected link, file, or website, an attacker can hold a user’s computer hostage until a ransom is paid. Obviously this tactic fails if your data is properly backed up, but many don’t utilize this option due to a lack of understanding or just general disinterest. Now, a new scheme called Popcorn Time has come into play – involving not just the user, but any of their close contacts.

The new kid on the ransomware block is called Popcorn Time – side note, this is the same name used by an online service to stream movies and TV shows. While the two aren’t related in any way, it has already caused initial confusion for many researching the attacks, or who have found themselves to be victims of the ransomware. But the way Popcorn Time sets itself apart even more from existing ransomware options is that beside the option to pay for the decryption of your files, you can forgo payment in exchange for infecting others. And, considering the ransom for Popcorn Time to release the data is the $775, or 1 Bitcoin, the temptation may be too good to pass up for some caught in its web.

It will be interesting to see how many people opt for this new “payment option”, but in the meantime the obvious suggestions for dealing with the possibility of a ransomware attack still apply:

  • Don’t click on links from users you don’t know, or that look suspicious in any way.
  • Constantly educate yourself on the latest cyber security issues working their way through the online world.
  • Reconsider the security protocols you have in place and make sure that they are up-to-date.

Despite the fact that this is yet another ransomware attack that has already claimed numerous victims, one cannot dismiss the simple genius behind it. By addressing a pain point many have come to associate with ransomware attacks – paying the ransom – and giving an alternative, non-monetary option, these Popcorn Time developers are lightening their workload considerably while simultaneously catching victims “between a rock and a hard place”. As new cyber attacks crop up on an almost daily basis, cyber security firms such as Neovera continue to provide the latest protection options to both manage and monitor your protected data, whether in the cloud or onsite.