Computer security people have been talking about this for years, but only recently are we seeing it in the wild: software that encrypts your data, and then charges you for the decryption key.
PandaLabs points out that this is not the first time such a Trojan has made the rounds, citing PGPCoder as having a "long record on the ransomware scene." Ransom.A is another Trojan that presented to the user both a shorter time frame and a significantly lower bounty -- a file was to be deleted every 30 minutes unless the user paid up the ransom of $10.99. Finally, Arhiveus.A also encrypted user files, but instead of demanding money, instead demanded that the user purchase products from an online drug store.
There appears to be no information available regarding what happens when the user attempts to contact the address in the e-mail or whether the alleged decrypting software actually does the job it's supposed to do. Gostev places a strong warning on his blog, however, saying that if you find yourself infected with Sinowal.FY, Gpcode.ai, or any other type of ransomware, do not pay up "under any circumstances." It also doesn't appear as if there is currently any antivirus solution that can help decrypt the files once they are encrypted, although Gostev says that the Kaspersky Lab team is currently working on a decryption routine.
Posted on July 23, 2007 at 6:08 AM • 33 Comments