The people responsible for creating and improving existing ransomware strains will often stoop to new lows. Over the past few years, the focus has slowly started shifting from just making money to making people feel bad for getting infected with malicious software. A new ransomware strain now shows a ransom note explaining how the victim is part of a fictitious agency to save children. To do so, they need to make a Bitcoin contribution.
Ransomware Developers Can Be Utterly Heartless
It is very annoying to deal with a ransomware attack these days. Your important computer files are encrypted, and most types of malware won’t even allow users to recover data from a backup. Plus, a lot of new ransomware types are charging a relatively high fee to provide victims with the decryption key. Then again, paying the money is no guarantee of receiving the decryption key whatsoever.
A new type of ransomware is taking things to a whole new level, albeit not in a positive manner. The ransom note in question explains how the victim is now officially part of a humanitarian organization. The GPAA, or Global Poverty Aid Agency, is encrypting your computer files in an effort to raise Bitcoins to save children. In fact, this fictitious group aims to raise at least 1,000 Bitcoin through a “crowdfunding campaign.” Infecting computers around the world is now apparently a charitable event, according to these developers.
As of right now, it appears this ransomware is asking a whopping 1.83 Bitcoin ransom. This translates to $2,750 victims have to pay to get their files back. Such a steep amount is rather uncommon among ransomware infections, but it appears the creator of this new strain has no scruples whatsoever. Claiming the money will be used to save children is absolutely immoral. Everyone knows criminals will use this money for their own gain.
What is even more troublesome is how the victims will seemingly not get the decryption key until the crowdfunding goal is reached. This means over 500 victims would need to pay 1.83 Bitcoin each to make sure everyone infected by this malicious software can access their computer again. This is an incredibly shady tactic, and it goes to show ransomware developers are more than willing to cause continuous harm to computers unless they get paid a lot of money.
If that isn’t troublesome enough, it is impossible to decrypt this new ransomware free of charge. It seems possible to restore data from a previous backup, albeit that has not been officially confirmed. It is possible there are multiple iterations of this malware in circulation right now. Security researchers have obtained at least one sample of the ransomware, though, but it could take weeks or months until they are able to break the encryption.
For the time being, no one knows for sure how this new ransomware is being distributed. It is possible there is no large-scale campaign taking place just yet, though. This new type of ransomware is by far one of the most problematic and heartless creations we have seen in recent years. The bigger question is whether or not we will see similar types of ransomware pop up moving forward.
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