To coincide with Def Con and Black Hat, cybersecurity’s two biggest events, the BBC has been scrutinising the world of internet crime – in particular how easy it is to become a cyber criminal.
The dramatic growth in ransomware is attributed to the ready availability, from a run-of-the-mill search engine, of off-the-shelf malware tools that any fool can use. The BBC illustrates how startlingly simple (and free of charge!) setting up your own ransomware operation can be, with something like a step-by-step video masterclass.
First, decide how much to charge your victims by setting a ransom fee and adding an optional multiplier effect. That’s literally all you need to do – oh, and enter a captcha code to prove you’re not a bot. Next, the system will generate a payload in the background. A pop up will then tell you ‘your malware is created.’ The version the BBC reporter trials corrupts victims’ files – leaving the system accessible and files visible, but the user unable to open or use said files. Alarmingly, this piece of malware was not detected by the majority of antivirus software it was tested on.
The lesson ends with that ubiquitous warning: ‘to protect yourself against malware don’t run, open or download suspicious files’.