Ransomware is a constant threat looking over our shoulders, and it sounds like internet criminals have once again upped the ante. Now that this business has become so very lucrative, cyber crooks have taken it upon themselves to provide a support page to affected victims.
The way these support pages works is to guide affected users through the payment protocol. The majority of ransomware infections require victims to pay a fee in Bitcoin, and a lot of people have trouble with obtaining cryptocurrency. A service desk for victims has been created by the developers of CryptoWall and Cryptolocker to make this process a bit easier. Apparently, they have been doing so since early January of 2016.
Bitcoin Ransomware Developers Become Helpful
There are quite a few benefits for victims to have these support pages at their disposal. One user even mentioned negotiating a lower price to restore file access, after one-to-one communication with one of the criminals. But there are some benefits to the criminals as well, as they can increase the payment rate for their victims.
While it is incredibly annoying to deal with ransomware, the last thing most people expected was to get help from the assailants themselves. However, given this lucrative business model, it only makes sense the distributors want to make as much money as possible. If that means guiding people through the process of paying the ransom, so be it. In fact, one developer has added call center support, where victims can call to and get aid in paying the fee.
But there is more, as mouth-to-mouth marketing as to how assailants helped their victims will have a mental effect as well. Even if somebody pays the ransom in Bitcoin, there is no guarantee the hackers will send them the decryption key. This way, they can ensure they have somewhat of a decent reputation in the ransomware world.
It is a very strange business model, to say the least, but it does not come as a complete surprise either. Internet criminals see the value in spreading ransomware, but if no one is paying, there is no point in pursuing this business. As odd as that may sound, spreading ransomware is a business model like any other, albeit it is a very wrong and illegal one.
In the end, users still need to take every possible precaution to ensure they will not become the victim of a ransomware attack. Keeping the OS and antivirus solutions up-to-date is only part of the solution. Never click on unknown links, and do not open email attachments from untrusted sources. Last but not least, always make a backup of the important files on your device.
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