And you know how sometimes when you’re surfing porn and you click on one thing, and it takes you somewhere else, and you click on that thing, and all of a sudden you’re 20 web sites away from where you began?
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Early ransomware attacks did attempt to live up to their name.
A hacker would encrypt the files on a user’s computer, demand payment, and destroy everything if the demand wasn’t met, said Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter who blogs about computer security.“It’s sort of follow the money,” Thakur told The Daily Beast.
“People behind the attacks were more familiar with that geography [in Europe], more comfortable moving money out of those countries when it started.
Now they have more money and more operations.”Wayne Upton, an IT specialist with Harry’s Business Machines in Reno, Nev., says he saw his first ransomware-infected client about a year ago. Kassner says scams like this all tend to come in waves.
Since then, cases have grown steadily, to between three and four a week in recent months. They surge for a while, perhaps when people have forgotten about them and are more likely to fall victim.
Then, as users wise up, the attacks become less effective—i.e., profitable—so the hackers shift tactics.
What’s especially devilish about ransomware is that it often very cleverly is based on something you’ve done that you’re not real proud of.
Ransomware viruses are often found embedded in advertisements on pornography web sites, Krebs said.
File this guy under “America’s Dumbest Cybercriminals”: Jay Matthew Riley was surfing the darker corners of the web when a menacing screen appeared—a warning, purportedly from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to police in Woodbridge, Va. So here’s what the dude did, police say: he went down to the cop shop and asked them to get to the bottom of the whole situation, to “inquire if he had any warrants on file for child pornography.” The cops obliged, found lewd photos of underage girls on Riley’s computer, and arrested him. Hackers dupe said computer user into forking over a few hundred bucks as a “fine” to settle the charges (because that’s apparently all it takes to resolve federal child pornography allegations today). So the scam the they ran on Riley had the most extreme and unfortunate result, at least for him.