What is a “Ransomware Computer Virus”, the tool used in the Global Computer Attack Friday?

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Many companies and organisations have been affected by this Ransomware

More than 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries were identified on Friday by Europol. ”  The latest attack is an unprecedented level and require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits,” said the European safety agency in a statement.

More than 75,000 attacks in 99 countries were identified Friday by Europol. ” The latest attack is an unprecedented level and require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits,” said the European safety agency in a statement.

The ransomware software used in this wave of cyber attacks have become over the years one of the favorite tools of hackers. How do they work and how to protect themselves?

What is a “ransomware software”?

The “ransomware software” is malicious software that lock the computer files. Their users are then forced to pay a sum of money, often in the form of virtual currency, to regain the use.

These devices, sometimes called “ransom software” are used both on PCs and tablets and smartphones. They touch “both individuals, companies and institutions,” says AFP Amar Zendik, CEO of Mind Technologies security company.

How it works?

Hackers typically take control of computers by exploiting vulnerabilities on the Internet. This may involve consultation with the victim of a previously infected website or open an email inviting him to click on a link or download an attachment.

Within seconds, the malware can then take hold. “When he first opens the email, there is virus loaded and it can not be detected,” said Laurent Maréchal, cyber security expert at McAfee: it is only then when they “downloads the payload , ie, is to say the viral load. ”

Therefore, the workstation is encrypted … and therefore blocked. “In most cases, the user must send an SMS” to receive payment details “to get an unlock code,” explains Laurent Maréchal, adding that the infection in some complex cases, can spread “without human intervention “.

Is their use frequent?

Yes. And the phenomenon continues to grow. According to the security software company Kaspersky Lab, 62 new families of “ransomware” were listed last year. And according to McAfee, the number of “samples” detected rose by 88% in 2016, reaching the figure of four million.

At the root of this success is the success rate with this ransomware software. “Often, hackers require small amounts. But accumulated, these small amounts are large sums, “says Amar Zendik that evokes” simple to implement and very profitable “operations.

A view shared by Laurent Maréchal, who recalls that “ransomware” are “readily available.” “On the darkweb, individuals can buy ransomware ready to use, sometimes for only $ 150. 

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