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Crypto Locker Virus Holds Your Files For Ransom

Filed Under (Encryption, Hacking, Security, Software, Technology, Windows) by admin on 28-10-2013

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , , , , ,

A new virus is making its way around the world but this one can really hit you where it hurts, your pocketbook.  That’s right, this isn’t some amateur teen hacker looking to send mass emails from your computer or cause destruction, more likely a group of professional hackers are behind Crypto Locker and they are looking to strike it rich.

cryptolockerCrypto Locker infects computers through an email phishing scam pretending to be FedEx, UPS or some other innocent looking company.  When you click to open the attachment which is an executable cleverly disguised as a PDF, JPG, Word or Excel doc, the virus will securely encrypt all of your files with encryption so secure the NSA won’t even be able to decrypt it.  Once encrypted you will receive a notice informing you that your documents are not available to you until you pay a ransom of anywhere between $100 and $500.  The attackers offer a multitude of anonymous payment methods and give you a specified amount of time to act before your decrypt key will be deleted rendering your files unrecoverable.

 

The attackers seem to be offering multiple ways to pay using anonymous and online currencies such as bitcoin, GreenDot MoneyPak and others.

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Back in 2008 a similar virus was unleashed to the public called GPCode which used RSA keys to encrypt user data but was quickly cracked allowing users to recover their data.  Unfortunately, it is widely believed that this encryption is far superior to GPCode’s and a timely crack to free your data is unlikely.

As always this blog piece is meant to be educational and not the be all end all on ransomware or Crypto Locker in general.  Please make sure your systems are completely backed up on a daily basis in order to prevent this type of virus from wreaking havoc on your computer and or network.  Financial Computer Systems (888-434-6443) offers a backup service called BackITUp that can help your organization stay ahead of the curve and preemptively protect your data in case of a worst case scenario such as Crypto Locker.  Whatever product you decide on, make sure you are protected.  Also, if you receive an email with an attachment, DO NOT OPEN it unless you can verify 100% who it’s from.  This is extremely important.   Hope this helps!
Keywords to know:
phishing – the act of attempting to acquire personal or private information such as birth dates, credit card numbers, social security numbers, usernames, passwords, etc by posing as a known entity (bank, car company, shipping company, tech company, game company, etc) that you are likely to deal with regularly.
executable – an application that automatically executes its instructions when opened
encryption
– a method of encoding messages or other information that isn’t easily decrypted (or readable) without a password or other secure key.
bitcoin – an online currency that functions without a central authority.  A cryptocurrency that uses cryptography to prevent double-spending.  Each bitcoin is worth approx. $207 USD as of Oct. 28th 2013.
ransomware – a malware that restricts access to the computer system that it infects and demands a ransom paid to its creator in order to be removed.

Job Search Security??? Be Careful!

Filed Under (Anonymity, Hacking, Privacy, Security) by admin on 14-02-2011

Tagged Under : , , , ,

I had to re-post this here as I posted it on my http://spamend.com blog.  It’s a good read and lets you know exactly what lengths these conmen will go to to steal your identity.

—–Begin————–

For all of you who are actively conducting a job search and there are a lot of you, take note of this warning.  The phishers are actively harvesting private data in very devious ways.

I responded to an ad on Craigslist the other day for a job opening with the following title, Senior IT Executive (North Jersey).  Here is the link…

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/tch/2180772287.html

I wasn’t interested in this job as it only paid $15 – 21 per hour which is a joke if you are looking for a senior person.  That said, I did receive the following reply….

From : Lindsay Slayton <huqazefezaz95@hotmail.com>
Subject: RE: Senior IT Executive (North Jersey)
Date: February 14, 2011 8:43:11 AM EST
To: Mark Moloughney <mark@moloughney.com>

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Hi Mark,

Thank you for your interest and your recent resume submission. My name is Lindsay Slayton and
I am the Human Resource Manager that is in charge of the hiring process for our company
VSD Property Management. I’ve look over your application and due to the high amount of
replies that we’ve gotten regarding our recent classifieds posting, I wanted to contact
you as soon as possible and see if you would be interested in setting up an interview with us.

Before I continue let me tell you some background information about VSD Property Management:
We are an established Rental Company that was founded back in 1984 and we’ve grown immensely
since then. Unlike other rental companies, we hope to foster a fun yet efficient environment
for our employees since we have the firm belief that if we provide our employees with a
welcoming work atmosphere we will see an increased return in productivity. Candidates should
consider themselves self-starters and be able to work efficiently with minimum supervision. Other
skills like great interaction with employees of all levels of the firm, strong communication
skills, organization skills etc. are also valued very highly.

Our company aims to build a strong bond with its employees and therefore we offer benefits
packages for you and your family plus we thrive to pay our employees a higher hourly wage than
any of our competitors. We will be discussing compensation and benefits a little bit more in
detail during our interview when we are in a more private environment instead of public emails.

Now due to our policies I will not be able to schedule an interview with you until you have
filled out one of our online applications which can be found on our company website.
Please visit
http://vsdmanagement.com/application/ and fill out our short application so we can move on
with the interview process. Each applicant is required to have a personal application code
in order to fill the application.

Your code is: 6MJ5QZgN6X0

Since we have received such a high number of replies to our job posting I will only be able to
hold your application on my desk for 1-2 days more so please do not wait too long to fill out
our online application! I will contact you as soon as I receive your online application!

Now if you have any questions please feel free to contact me!
Hoping to see you here for an interview soon,

Lindsay Slayton
Human Resource Manager
VSD Property Management

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So let’s look at this shall we.  First things first.  The FROM says the message is from Lindsay Slayton but the actual email address says huqazefezaz95@hotmail.com.  So there are a couple of no-nos here.  First off the name of the person and the actual email address do not match.  Now this is common if you are emailing with friends but not in a professional environment.  What company would have an HR person respond to a job submission via a Hotmail account.  Unlikely at best.

Next, the first line says that I submitted a resume.  Haha.  I didn’t but for those of you who did, be careful.  Any private information in that resume is now being harvested and used against you.  Hello identity fraud.

Thirdly, she says she works for VSD Property Management which does not meet the description of the original job posting.

Lastly, she (probably not a she by the way) tells you in order to set up an interview you have to fill out a questionnaire online which undoubtedly asks a number of personal questions including your Social Security number.

Oh… One more thing.  I did a whois on the domain name mentioned in the ad and it comes back as being registered to the following individual…

Vsemil Sobolev (VsemilSobolev@pochta.ru)

+1.1231106541
Fax:
Lenin ave 32/87
Moscow,  60539
RU

So this guy is in Russia trying to harvest US data.  BE CAREFUL OUT THERE…  And please pass this on.

Mark

+1.1231106541Fax:Lenin ave 32/87Moscow,  60539RU