How Ransomware is Stealing Away the Bitcoin Victory

Feb 20, 2017 at 12:58 // News
Author
Jacob Okonya

In 2016 a new illegal industry emerged in the bitcoin ecosystem. Ransomware, a malicious program with the ability to encrypt a file or lock the user out totally from a computing device. Hackers invented a way of blocking user access to very important servers and demanding a ransom of bitcoin in exchange for an unlocking key.

Data security has been one of the biggest and longest running questions since the emergence of modern computing. Reverse engineering enables people to unlock a stream of coded security locks. Lately, hackers have invented a new way of maliciously getting payments in bitcoin by using Ransomware. Coinidol explores what ransomware is and how users can safeguard against it.

What is Ransomware?

Coinidol.com spoke to Shivank Dalmia, an ICT specialist from India, about what ransomware is, when it came into existence, who can design it and how it can get onto a user’s computer system. In response he said:

“Ransomware is a new kind of malware, in which instead of hacking or damaging the computer in the traditional way, the goal of the attacker is to apply a high-end encryption on each file of the computer mostly .docx and .pdf file which are of course business oriented files. And a clock is ticking on the screen, that shows the time left to pay the ransom and get the key to decrypt the encryption.”

How can users ensure safety from ransomware and avoid unnecessary monetary losses?

In modern networking, every problem has a cheap solution which if not deployed correctly, and used regularly, can lead to enormous losses being accrued. Coinidol.com spoke to Jerry Lucas, a financial/business consultant, who is also an instructor at Colorado Notary Training, about possible ways of getting computer systems and internet devices free of this ransomware. He said in a statement:

“The simplest insurance is to backup your data on a removable drive and disconnect the drive from the system after backup. Users must learn and follow good security practices. Do not click on unknown links and email attachments. Use internet security suite software with ransomware detection. Block popups. Do not operate a user account with admin privileges, use standard privileges that do not allow software installation. Use long, strong, unique passwords on each account.
You can also use encryption software to set up a password protected folder on a USB drive. A password is needed to open the folder. Then you can drag and drop files into the protected folder. Ransomware cannot get into the folder without the password.”

How can these hackers be identified and exposed so that this vice can be curbed?

Some legitimate known programmers working in reputable organizations and businesses can turn out to be hackers. Identification and exposure can ensure a significant reduction in the activity. Coinidol.com spoke to Noa Sundqvist, a private cyber security consultant, on how hackers can be identified and he commented: 

“Absolute first step is identifying the ransomware and removing (quarantining it), next you find where you got it. You can trace the origin from a site back to a domain or network (probably one bouncing an IP), you can look for listed owner and simply monitor traffic, then you can backtrace to whoever is doing it (again likely using say a botnet), it takes time and a fair amount of effort. It takes pros and experienced people not just anyone with Google (though I am sure the information available is adequate).”

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