RobbinHood – the ransomware that brings its own bug – Naked Security

Ransomware is one of the most feared cybercrime problems of the modern era.

The idea of malware that scrambles your files and demands money to get them back is not new – the first widespread attack happened back in 1989 – but the scale of the threat has changed dramatically in the last few years.

Up to about 2010 or 2011, ransomware was little more than a lab curiosity…

…until the crooks finally figured out how to extract money from their desperate victims, thanks to the anonymity (more or less) afforded by the Dark Web and the untraceable (more or less) payments offered through the use of cryptocurrencies.

Crooks such as the gang behind the Cryptolocker ransomware were able to make millions, perhaps even hundreds of millions, of dollars by infecting hundreds of thousands of users and businesses, and then demanding $300 a time to unlock each user’s files.

But that approach has changed recently, with the big-money ransomware criminals carrying out fewer but much bigger attacks.

These days, ransomware operations are very often aimed at whole networks, or even at centrally-managed collections of networks.

The idea is that the crooks are still planning to scramble hundreds or thousands of computers in an attack, but instead of blackmailing the owner of each computer to pay a few hundred dollars, they blackmail the operators of the entire network to pay a huge lump sum.

Those sums typically run from $50,000 to $5,000,000, with the victims sometimes left with little choice but to pay up because their whole business has ground to a halt, not just a few computers here and there.