FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Ransomware" the Newest Computer Security Problem

A "Trojan horse" computer virus called Cryzip currently making the rounds is part of a new breed of malware that encrypts a victim's files, then demands a ransom for the decryption key. If paid, the money ($300 in the case of Cryzip) is transferred via an e-payment account.

Computer security experts believe that, although only a few cases of Cryzip have been reported thus far, ransomware could become a serious problem, especially since they use strong encryption on victims' files that cannot easily be broken. Plus, victims might not receive a workable decryption key even after they've paid -- either because the malware author is truly sadistic or just not skilled enough to write a properly working program.

The experts reiterate their usual warnings and advice about computing in the age of malicious software: use up-to-date antivirus and firewall software, don't open an e-mail attachment sent from anyone you don't know, use strong passwords, and back up your files regularly.

Source: ZDNet