Byte Me Article 224 – Hackers going to extreme lengths

Hackers Going to Extreme Lengths

Computer hackers are upping the ante on ransoms and extortion.  They have previously manufactured and spread the Cryptolocker virus which spreads through the email system and locks all of your data files.  The same virus then demands that a ransom be paid to get an unlock code so that your files can be used again.

In the above situation, even if you pay the ransom which is usually around 2 thousand dollars, you will still not get the use of your files.  We have heard of situations where this has happened and it has only resulted in the perpetrators then asking for more money yet again.  Basically if you don’t have a backup copy of your important files then you can kiss them goodbye.  If you meet any ransom requests then you can kiss that money goodbye too!

Now in a most recent case we see a situation where a Brisbane company has paid a ransom request which has only brought about further unwanted attention and more extreme extortion threats against them.  Earlier this year they paid $14,000 to try to get their data back – to no avail.  However this desperate move resulted in placing a spotlight upon their business from the hackers’ point of view.

2015-06-06 Byte Me Artilce 224 - Extortion

All of a sudden hackers that are likely located in a country outside of the reach of international law had a bonafide target.  Previously their email based file locking actions and ransom threats were simply random – now they had enough details to place extra attention on an individual company.  So how far did this go?

To start with the hackers asked for further amounts of money.  When the company refused to pay and handed details over to the police the hackers went about scrounging as much information as possible on one of the company’s senior executives.  They then made threats to discredit members of his family through online attacks and even got hold of photos of his child.

Threats went so far as to suggest that they would set about a scheme of harassment and menace that would result in the ruin of this Childs’ life.  This is criminal activity at a level that has previously not been seen before in this country and is an example that all of us need to take heed of.

Police have issued security warnings about this very incident and the message is clear.  Hackers and online groups are after our money – at any cost.  Never comply with one of these demands as fair play never results.  Instead you can easily bringing about further hurt and complications in a situation where the criminals can literally be on the other side of the world.

Always safeguard your company data or personal data with caution.  Employ the services of a professional IT company, have effective backups, have a disaster recovery plan and minimise the amount of personal information you put on the web.  This latest case really turns up the IT hacking heat and can’t be ignored. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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