Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Give me back my files!

-Give me back my son! -Give the money!, -Give me back my son! -Give the money!”. In this remix of the movie "Ransom", Meb Gibson and Gary Sinise show the essence of kidnapping: someone gets hold of something that is yours and demands a ransom if you want it back.

That is how ransomware works. It encrypts your files or blocks your device in order to demand money in case you want to recover them. In this sense, the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) has issued a warning about a new wave of ransomware infections by Cryptolocker, which would access your devices through a phishing campaign with malicious attachments.

Phishing techniques are booming, in part, thanks to smartphones. These devices provide several opportunities to hide malicious URLs to spammers due to their small screens.

Spam is another type of undesirable technique that takes advantage of the email to reach users. In Japan, about 30 groups of anti-nuke groups have received more than 2.5 million emails to collapse their servers. Some of them are as explicit as this: "Unless we kill all of the anti-nuclear believers, world peace will be never achieved".

On the other hand, the British intelligence agency GCHQ has reportedly used more sophisticated techniques called "Quantum Insert" in order to trick Belgacom’s employees into installing malware and spying on them.

Organizations should be concerned about both the safety of their employees devices and their systems protection, especially the most critical ones. However security researcher Paul McMillan has revealed that there are at least 30.0000 systems exposed on the internet. Among them, two hydroelectric plants in New York, a foundry’s generator in Los Angeles or the surveillance cameras at a casino in the Czech Republic. If you have in mind as well the infection on an internal network in a Russian nuclear plant, or the malware installed on the International Space Station via a USB memory, we can get an idea of ​​the long road that we have ahead in matters of critical systems’ protection.


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