Ransomware has been a frightening and persistent threat for several years, with more and more businesses being targeted each day. As with any other type of malware, new strains of ransomware are appearing all the time. The newest strain that has been identified by experts is known as the Popcorn Time Ransomware.
The Popcorn Time Ransomware follows the same patterns as any other ransomware infection, encrypting files on any systems or networks it is able to infiltrate. The encrypted files are then held ransom until the target pays the demanded fee for the decryption key. There is no way of cracking the encryption, which means the only way to get your files back is to pay for them, and hope that the hacker keeps their end of the bargain.
Timelines, fees, and methods of payment can vary from infection to infection. In the case of the Popcorn Time Ransomware, targeted users have 7 days to transfer a minimum of 1.0 Bitcoin to the hackers’ digital wallet. After the deadline passes, the decryption key will be deleted, and the files lost forever. Alternatively, you have the option of intentionally infecting two other individuals or businesses in lieu of payment, and your files will be restored in return.
The phrasing of the Bitcoin ransom demand is a little unusual. Generally, hackers are simply looking for an easy score, and demand a firm price in exchange for them undoing whatever it is they’ve done to your files. In the case of the Popcorn Time ransomware, the warning message that appears after the encryption process is complete identifies the hackers responsible as a group of computer science students from Syria who have chose to use ransomware as a means of extorting funds out of foreign businesses for aid and supplies.
Regardless of whether there is any truth to this claim, avoiding this infection is critical. Ransomware can very quickly bring your operations to a grinding halt. Even if you have complete and up-to-date backups to restore from, your business will still suffer downtime and a loss of productivity while the infection is scrubbed from your systems, and your data and applications are restored.
It’s important to make sure that your firewall, antivirus, and antimalware programs are kept current with the latest patches, and that you have a reliable email spam filter in place. Be wary of suspicious emails, and never click on embedded links or attachments in emails you were not expecting to receive, regardless of who the sender claims to be.
Want to learn more about the steps you can take to protect your business from a ransomware attack? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 310-2739. We’re the IT professionals businesses in Central and Northern California trust.