CryptoLocker Ransomware Spreading Rapidly

Security firms started sounding the alarm earlier this year, but this nefarious cyber nemesis has only picked up momentum. CryptoLocker is spreading its ransomware wings and finding plenty of victims in its path.

But letEUs take a step back. What is CryptoLocker? According to AppRiver, CryptoLocker belongs to a type of malware known as ransomware. If a victim is infected, the malware encrypts all files containing certain extensions with a locally stored 2048-bit RSA key and then again asymmetrically with a 256-bit AES encryption key it gets from its command-and-control server.

Once the encryption is completed, the malware displays a pop-up notice demanding the victim pay a ransom for the blocked files he is trying to view. The cost to unlock the files: $300 -- and thereEUs a time limit of about 100 hours to pay up.

Rapidly Spreading Ransomware

In the last 30 days, AppRiverEUs spam filters quarantined 56.6 million e-mails that contained a virus as an attachment. And CryptoLocker is still the biggest piece of malware being trapped. This rate is an increase, for the fourth consecutive month, and is the highest total seen since March of 2012.

Troy Gill, senior security analyst of AppRiver, told us given the key arrests that were made involving the author of the Blackhole Toolkit -- and given the fact that its use was the most widespread -- its natural to assume that thereEUd be a decrease in malware. But thatEUs not been the case.

EUInstead our intelligence confirms that the criminals that were using it simply jumped ship and moved on to a toolkit by the name of Magnitude and, very quickly, it was business as usual for them. It seems malware authors have major problems when it comes to customer loyalty,EU Gill said.

Are You Backed Up?

Unlike some other forms of ransomware, CryptoLocker actually does...

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