Cyber Ransomware Research

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Criminology

Document 1

However, like a coin, there are always two sides of the story. Even though the use of technology helps save lives and provides employment, it may be the reason that you suffer unimaginably. With a high number of people online, so are the number of people trying to steal from you using the internet. Cyber ransomware is a type of a malware program that locks part of a system or an entire system. They then demand a ransom to free the locked system. These programs infect a system with the sole purpose of extorting money from the owner. These programs are also called crypto-worn, crypto-virus or crypto-trojan. They use sophisticated encryption to encrypt the system so you cannot access anything. The Ransomware Problem According to the U. S Department of Justice, there are at least four thousand ransomware attacks that occur daily since the start of 2016. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated that a total of twenty-four million dollars were paid to ransomware developers in 2015. The amount of money paid in 2016, however, was more than a billion dollars. This amount is expected to grow exponentially as the number of people with computers, and internet access is also expected to grow. There are also more people engaging in the vice thus more and more ransomware is being created. As the number of people being forced to pay the ransom increases so does the profits for the hackers as most people are forced to pay a couple of hundred dollars. In some cases, though, the amount demanded can go upwards of one million dollars.

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Like in the case of Nayana, a South Korean web hosting company, that was forced to pay 397. bitcoin (one million dollars) in June of 2017. There is also a hospital, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, that was forced to pay seventeen thousand dollars to decrypt their patients’ data. By getting all these money, the hackers can get better at creating even more devastating ransomware. Like in the case of the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, patients could not be attended to as their information had been encrypted. This could have resulted in the loss of lives as patients that were to have surgeries would not. In the case of the web hosting company, their Linux servers were hit by Erebus ransomware that encrypted all of their data. With their servers encrypted all the websites that were hosted by the company were not be available.

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This resulted in losses of millions and millions of dollars. Here is how: Evolution of Cyber Ransomware The first ransomware was created in 1989 by Joseph Popp. He created a trojan called the AIDS trojan. The trojan encrypted the computers of its victims, and he would then ask for payment to decrypt the computer files free the computer. The trojan, however, had loopholes that enabled hid victims to avoid paying the ransom. The first successful ransomware program was made by Moti Yung and Adam Young at Columbia University in 1996. It affected hundreds of thousands of computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. It encrypted the system's data and asked for ransom payments in bitcoin. It was able to affect more than two hundred and fifty thousand systems spread within a hundred and sixteen countries within four days of being deployed in May 2017.

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The ransomware affected hospitals, banks, law enforcement agencies and radio stations. Types of Ransomware There are possibly thousands upon thousands of different types of ransomware programs. The ransomware was made to be spread through malicious attachments in spam emails. Upon the download of the ransomware from the email, the malware would encrypt all the user files and a popup with Billy the Puppet appears demanding a ransom of a hundred and fifty dollars to be paid via Bitcoin. If an hour passes without payment, a file is deleted. The number of files deleted exponentially increases with every hour that the ransom is not paid until the computer is fully wiped after three days. If you try to restart or terminate the process, a thousand files will be deleted. The ransomware resulted in a minimum of 41928 bitcoins being paid, about $27 million at that time.

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Mobile ransomware: This is a largely unknown type of ransomware. Most cybercriminals focus on attacking computers and servers. There are however some that are branching and starting to target mobile phone users. It is quite rampant but is mostly overshadowed by ransomware in the PCs. Antivirus software can prevent almost all the malware and viruses from attacking your computer. Thirty percent of popular antivirus software can detect and neutralize any ransomware attack. Download the antivirus from reputable vendors like Bitdefender, Kaspersky lab or Malwarebytes. You also do not have to pay tons of cash for your computer's antivirus. There are several free antivirus software, just make sure that the antivirus company you are downloading from is trusted as you may end up downloading a malware masquerading as an antivirus. There was a fix to the vulnerability that the malware exploited a week prior to the attack.

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This was a very disheartening attack as it could have been prevented if only people had updated their systems Beware of suspicious emails and pop-ups. You should also avoid visiting sites and clicking links that might have malware. Security experts have reason to believe that the WannaCry global malware was initially spread by spam email attachments. To spot a potentially fishy email, look at the email address of the sender and see if it is coming from a legitimate business. In most cases, the insurance the insurance pays the business for the losses it incurred due to the ransomware attack. It can also cover the business for the damage in its software or hardware due to the ransomware. If the malware already infects you, the first thing that you have to do is to disconnect from the internet to avoid the malware from spreading to more systems.

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You should then report the ransomware to the relevant law enforcement agencies. You should then look for a tech professional that specializes in data recovery for him to tell you what your options might be. This will enable the malware move fast across entire cities. The ransomware might hack into the house's general working and lock you inside for days. This is the main concern as people could be hurt or even closed indoors for days or even weeks. They might also target different appliances in your house like locking you out of your fridge while you are locked indoors could result in you starving to death. Transport attacks are probably the most worrying of all. The ransomware might also place itself in your system in such a way that it will be asking money from you after every month.

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Even with all the doom and gloom, there is some hope. With more robust technology, law enforcement agencies may have more resources to be able to track and capture the perpetrators. They might be better equipped in combating the vice. They might be able to quarantine the infected machines and trace the malware back to the source. The public should also know the steps to take once you find out that you have a ransomware. They should prevent the ransomware from spreading to more machines and inform law enforcement immediately. They should also be educated on the benefits of working with the law enforcement agencies in order to apprehend the culprits. Law enforcement agencies should also keep a vigilant eye on suspicious online activities. They should introduce steep fines and punishment for those people that are found guilty for making and distribution of the ransomware.

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I believe that if everyone does his or her part in fighting this menace we will be able to defeat it easily. References Kowalski, Robin M. et al.  Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age. John Wiley & Sons, 2012.  Digital crime and digital terrorism. Prentice Hall Press, 2014. Yar, Majid.  Cybercrime and society. Sage, 2013.

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