An Insight into the Ransomware Cartel

Ransomware attacks on computers have become rampant in the recent days. Hackers and cybercriminals behind these attacks generally demand a ransom of about one bitcoin from the victims in order to restore access to the encrypted files and folders. There have been thousands of attacks since last year where they targeted individuals, big corporations, government offices, police station and now they have started targeting hospitals for ransom. While the ransom demand is generally one bitcoin or more depending upon the target, one can buy the ransomware itself for less than one bitcoin.

According to a report converted by Italian website, ransomware can be acquired for as less as $100. There are people who are selling ransomware over encrypted chats and forums. If anyone wants to lay their hands upon the malware that encrypts computers then, they have to go prowling through these forums until they find the right seller. The journalist who wrote the article about ransomware in La Stampa also describes experience while buying the ransomware.

The author, Carola Frediani mentions her interaction with two different hackers on one of the Russian forums. The first hacker apparent offered to sell the ransomware for $300, where he will first infect the author’s computer after which she would have to pay $300 in bitcoin for the decryption key. Once the transaction is completed he would then give the executable file for the ransomware which can then be used to infect other computers. Another condition involved sharing the ransom received from future attacks conducted by the recipient of the ransomware.

Another hacker going by the name Tartarus she encounters was said to be calmer and more composed than the second one and he offered to answer her questions as well. His offer to sell the ransomware was $100 in bitcoin. He would also take 15% of the profits generated from the distribution of the ransomware. Tartarus is also said to have explained the workings of the malware while divulging his reasons to get into this business. The money in distributing ransomware is an attractive business with lots of money involved which is quite irresistible for some.

The understanding of ransomware, as well as people behind it, is quite an insight which others have not managed to gain so far. With this understanding, now it is known that the ransomware business is like any other multilevel marketing gigs where the hackers tend to make more money as the network grows. It is always advisable for people to protect from these attacks by taking necessary precautions like not opening unknown mail attachments, keeping the software updated and by having a good antivirus installed on the computer.