Tuesday, 24 May 2005

In an interesting and (at the same time, but for different reasons) rather scary turn of events, a company's computer data has apparently been locked up, by means of encryption, by an evil-doer and held ransom.

For - get this one - $200.

Tell me that is not the perfect Austin Powers moment. I can hear Dr. Evil now, from his Evil Hacker Base:

Twooooooo Hunnnnnnndred Dolllllllarrrzzzzz! Muuuhahahahahahhhh!!!

Unfortunately, it's worrisome in that through some lack of security protection or another, some bad guy was able to get malicious code into a company that located business files and packaged them up in a nice, neat encrypted (and therefore completely unaccessible without the key) form. They didn't even (necessarily) take the files off the network - they just locked them up and left them there. Maybe. Who knows.

Link to the story: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/05/24/1321200&from=rss

Security researchers at the San Diego-based Websense uncovered the unusual extortion plot when a corporate customer they would not identify fell victim to the infection, which encrypted files that included documents, photographs and spreadsheets.

A ransom note left behind included an e-mail address, and the attacker using the address later demanded $200 for the digital keys to unlock the files.

"This is equivalent to someone coming into your home, putting your valuables in a safe and not telling you the combination," said Oliver Friedrichs, a security manager for Symantec Corporation.

The FBI said the scheme, which appears isolated, was unlike other Internet extortion crimes.

Leading security and anti-virus firms this week were updating protective software for companies and consumers to guard against this type of attack, which experts dubbed "ransom-ware."

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IT Security
Tuesday, 24 May 2005 07:00:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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