For those people who were wondering whether or not criminals would run out of ideas to create new types of ransomware, have no fear. Fantom, a new type of malware, disguises itself as a critical Windows update. But under the hood, this piece of software will do all types of harm to one’s computer, and decrypt all files in the process.
Fantom Is Not Your Average Critical Windows Update
Newer types of ransomware seem to pop up on a regular basis, and the season is far from over. Factom has recently been making the rounds and was first brought to people’s attention thanks to Sophos. While this is a ransomware type, it is not as potent compared to other versions of this malware.
According to the Sophos blog post, Fantom is not well-written. Nor has it been spread on a large scale just yet either. But that does not mean one should overlook this new malware, as it can cause significant harm to an infected device. Then again, its success may hinge on how well it can convince users into tricking this is a legitimate threat.
For those users who end up infected with Fantom, however, trouble will start brewing relatively quickly. If given the chance, it will work just as advertised. Files on the device will be encrypted, and users will need to pay a Bitcoin fee to restore access. This is the standard modus operandi among ransomware families these days.
What is rather worrisome is how Fantom, despite its horrible English and lack of convincing skills, has been created using a publicly available framework.Criminals no longer need to have much programming knowledge to create new types of malware. For now, it is anybody’s guess as to what one should look out for to deal with this infection.
By disguising the malware as a critical Windows update the Fantom developers have increased their chances for success. However, everyone should be aware of how Windows Updates are never available in the form of executable files. Avoiding that filetype altogether should ensure no one ever needs to deal with Fantom ransomware moving forward.
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