Malware and ransomware pose a significant threat to your online security and can potentially cost you a lot of money. Crypto Malware is a term that describes malicious software that is designed to gain access to your computer without your knowledge. It can manifest itself through spyware, keyloggers, viruses, worms, or any malicious code that infiltrates a computer.
Crypto Ransomware is a type of malware that can lock your information and will typically extort money from you for you to recover and gain access to it.
Knowing about these malicious threats is especially important to players at a bitcoin casino and anyone who enjoys bitcoin gambling. Unfortunately, they can be susceptible to attacks. The creators of the harmful software have evil intentions and usually target users known to have money readily available. Online gamblers can be easy targets if their connection to the internet is not secure.
Once ransomware infiltrates a computer or network, the malware restricts access to the system or encrypts its information. Cybercriminals then demand that the user pay a ransom to regain access to their computer or information.
Essentially, crypto-ransomware encrypts valuable files on a computer so the user cannot access them, leaving the person helpless.
Famous Examples Of Ransomware
There have been many famous crypto-ransomware attacks that have targeted unsuspecting users. We delve into some of them to help you learn the differences between each type, how dangerous they can become, and the devious techniques cybercriminals use.
This malicious scheme was first identified in 2018 and depended on an affiliate program that incentivised the spread of the ransomware in return for a share of the crypto ransom payments.
The technique behind this attack is commonly referred to as Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). Kraken Cryptor was linked to a bitcoin casino with little in the way of identity verification protocols. Cybercriminals then took advantage of it as an ideal money-laundering platform.
Locky is a variation of crypto-ransomware that was released by cybercriminals in 2016. It is particularly effective in encrypting over 160 types of files that are mostly used by testers, designers, engineers, and developers.
It is usually spread by tricking users into installing the software through fictitious emails with infected attachments. This transmission method is known as phishing.
WannaCry is a ransomware attack released by cybercriminals in 2017 and spread across 150 countries.
It was intended to exploit weaknesses in Windows and focused on hospital trusts in the UK. It locked out users and demanded ransom payments in bitcoin, causing financial losses of an estimated US$4 million globally.
Bad Rabbit targeted insecure websites in 2017 and spread using a drive-by ransomware attack. With the drive-by attack, a victim typically visits an authentic website and doesn’t realise that they have become compromised by a cybercriminal.
Very little action is required from the user besides browsing the compromised page. They are usually infected when they click to install something that is actually disguised malware. This is commonly referred to as a malware dropper, which Bad Rabbit did by using a fake request to install Adobe Flash that spread the infection.
Cybercriminals released Ryuk in 2018. It primarily incapacitated the Windows System Restore function, making it impossible to restore encrypted files without a backup and encrypted network drives.
Ryuk devastated many US businesses and received ransom amounts of over $640,000 in 2018.
Troldesh consisted of spam emails that were infected with attachments and links. The attack spread in 2015, and cybercriminals communicated directly with their victims to demand ransoms over email.
The attackers went as far as offering discounts to victims with who they had conversed for long periods. This was frowned upon by authorities who believed that negotiating with cybercriminals only encouraged their devious behaviour.
Jigsaw used an image of the puppet from the film franchise Saw and spread its Ransomware attack in 2016.
The attack got progressively worse as more of the victim’s information was deleted the longer the ransom was unpaid. The significance of using visuals from a horror movie was intended to cause further distress to its victims.
CryptoLocker spread in 2007 via infected email attachments. This crypto ransomware infiltrated a user’s computer, located valuable files to encrypt, and demanded a ransom to unlock them.
Law enforcement authorities managed to curb this intricate scheme and intercept the ransomware data, unbeknown to the criminals. An online portal was securely created where users could unlock and release their data without having to pay anything to the criminals.
Petya was released in 2016. This malicious scheme attacked a user’s hard drive by encrypting the Master File Table. This made it impossible to access files on the hard drive.
Petya infiltrated HR divisions in organisations and appeared as bogus job application emails with an infected Dropbox link.
GoldenEye was a reappearance of Petya and made a global attack in 2017. It targeted important oil producers and many banks with the same malicious attack on entire hard drives by encrypting the Master File Table.
This ransomware attack threatened users on a personal level as it dared to expose its victim’s habits of watching pornography online.
It spread in 2018 and claimed unprecedented access to a user’s webcam. People had to meet the attackers’ demands in exchange for not making any compromising footage publicly available.
A No More Ransom Initiative saw a collaboration between internet security providers and the police. Together, they developed a ransomware decryptor to extract each victim’s sensitive data from the devious hands of GandCrab.
How Crypto Ransomware Infiltrates Computer Systems
Ransomware manipulates software to exploit users or organisations for financial gain. A key part of this software manipulation is for the crypto-ransomware to gain access to the files or systems it will hold for ransom. This access is made possible through infection or attack vectors.
Malware relies on specific entry points, referred to as vectors. Cybercriminals know that there are many ways for systems to be corrupted and consequently ransomed. In light of this, they plan an attack or infection vector to infiltrate a system.
A classic fraud technique used to distribute crypto-ransomware is when cybercriminals send a convincing reason for organisations to open malware masked as an urgent email attachment.
An invoice will probably be opened to identify its contents if it is sent to an organisation. This deceptive tactic allows the software to get access to files and systems.
While receiving the email in your Inbox will not activate an infection, the email attachments downloaded or opened will lead to the infiltration.
Often, emails are created using social engineering methods to bait the recipients into downloading attachments and opening links.
Social Media Messages
Cybercriminals often employ devious schemes to target unassuming victims on social media, most commonly on Facebook Messenger.
They use this tactic by creating an account that mirrors one of the victim’s friends. These fake accounts are used to send messages that contain links or file attachments to the user. Once the user opens these links or downloads the attachment, the ransomware can infiltrate and lock specific networks associated with that particular device.
Cybercriminals use crypto-ransomware with pop-ups as their vector. These pop-ups are creatively developed to represent commonly used software by the user. Users are more inclined to engage in messaging from the software they are familiar with.
In light of this, they are more comfortable following instructions and being compliant with the directions of the pop-up. Essentially, the software can infiltrate undetected with devastating consequences.
It is a common tactic by cybercriminals to deliver crypto-ransomware through exploit kits.
Typically, these are toolkits that attackers strategically set up on websites. These kits, such as Nuclear, Angler, and Neutrino, evaluate each website visitor’s device in search of vulnerabilities they can exploit.
Once a weakness is identified and exploited, the exploit kit downloads and operates crypto-ransomware on the device.
What Happens Once A System Has Been Infiltrated?
If ransomware finds a way to breach your device, it targets and encrypts specific files.
Once the encryption is complete, a message with the ransom demand will appear. The ransom amount varies, and payment is usually requested only in bitcoin or a similar cryptocurrency.
Cybercriminals are quite specific with their instructions on ransom payment and typically apply pressure by enforcing a specific time frame for payment delivery.
How To Respond To And Recover From An Attack
Should you find yourself under a Ransomware attack, there are ways to limit the damage, including:
- Disconnect your device from the current network or the internet to stop the spread of infection to other connected devices.
- Scan all your connected devices for comparable weaknesses and unforeseen threats.
- Try and identify the specific crypto ransomware responsible. It is handy to know the different ransomware families and their characteristics for this stage. This makes it much easier to search for an online solution for remedial options.
Once you are convinced that the infection is restricted, you can attempt to remove it, recover your device, and salvage the data stored on it.
Often, it is easier to clean your device, reinstall your operating system, and recover your data from cloud backups.
To avoid a recurrence of the attack, always ensure that any software installed contains the latest security patches.
It is also advisable to report any incident of a crypto-ransomware attack to your local law enforcement authorities, as this will help them in their quest to identify cybercriminals.
How To Prevent A Ransomware Attack
There are many precautions that you can take to prevent a crypto-ransomware infiltration:
- Always make sure to back up all essential files regularly. Be sure to keep them in a location that is not linked to your device or network. If your device is breached, you will have clean backups available.
- Install urgent and essential security patches for your device’s operating systems and applications. This prevents circumstances where the attack vector includes email file attachments, links, and vulnerability exploit attacks.
- Ensure that your devices’ antivirus security features are up-to-date with the most recent signature databases.
- Don’t engage with emails sent by an unknown sender, especially if it has an attachment or a link.
- Get in the habit of enabling hidden files, folders, and drives so that you can see them on your device. Also, make sure to disable the Hide Extension of Known File Types to identify files with multiple file extensions.
- When using Microsoft Office, ensure that the settings for your Macro Settings are programmed to Disable Macros with Notification, as this will restrict macros from operating automatically once a document file is opened.
The Bottom Line
Almost all cybercriminals assume that the crypto-ransomware intended to infiltrate your device will cause such an inconvenience that you become desperate to pay the ransom demanded. Law enforcement officials and internet security researchers do, however, recommend that victims must avoid succumbing to the demands of cybercriminals and pay the ransom.
To effectively protect yourself from an attack, it is important to learn about distribution tactics, phishing scams, drive-by attacks, and spoofed websites to identify and stop imminent cyber threats easily.
In light of this, players at bitcoin casinos must exercise extreme caution when gearing up for a session of online entertainment. Be sure to check that communication from your bitcoin casino is indeed authentic, and always remain alert to unusual attacks for your online safety.