One example how the bit coin may be helping criminals. More stories like this are going to pop-up as this type of crime will obviously be a new reality. Many people perceive that their basic freedoms are being taken away visa vis the loss of privacy and the increase of surveillance. The Government argues this is to protect them, which in many case it does as many old school crimes and frauds are caught with ease. However, a new age of crime is growing on line and being facilitated by virtual currencies, like this story about the Cryptolocker Virus. It is interesting though that this story was issued as a press release and not an AP or Reuters story, consider the source.
RALEIGH, N.C. , Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — At least several million dollars and countless terabytes of data have been lost to the Cryptolocker virus, which at last count had infected more than 250,000 computers. Businesses without an action plan to deal with a Cryptolocker infection are flirting with disaster. Seeing the need for an effective response to this threat, Raleigh’s Petronella Technology Group has developed an airtight system for stopping the virus in its digital tracks.
Cryptolocker belongs to the family of computer viruses known as ransomware. The attack begins when the virus encrypts a user’s files. They remain encrypted until a ransom is paid to whatever faceless entities are behind the attack. Ransomware is not new, but the Cryptolocker virus has ratcheted up the stakes. Analysts have noted that the virus has become more widespread than its predecessors, uses a more robust form of encryption, and is unfazed by typical anti-virus software.
For businesses, ransomware is a dual-pronged threat. Of course there’s the financial impact of paying the ransom, which about 3 percent of victims have elected to do. There’s also the effect of having security vulnerabilities exposed and exploited. In an era when information is money, not being able to safeguard that information can be ruinous.
Reports indicate that Cryptolocker, like many viruses, spreads when users download a zipped file within an email. The email may appear to be tracking information from FedEx or UPS, but of course this is a ruse. Businesses are particularly vulnerable, as the sending and receiving of packages and associated tracking data may be quite routine.