The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued an alert warning businesses and individuals about the continued spread of cryptographic ransomware. This malware encrypts a victim’s files with a key held by criminals on a remote server, and it then extorts money from the victim to recover those files. The biggest threat among these continues to be CryptoWall, the ransomware family that first emerged last April.
So far, the FBI’s IC3 has been contacted by 992 victims of CryptoWall, and their combined losses total over $18 million (~£11.4 million). That number falls far short of the actual number of victims, some of whom have not reported being affected by the malware and have simply paid up or abandoned their files. And the current cost figure does not include all of the business losses from those reporting CryptoWall incidents. Those hidden impacts can include lost productivity, the cost of bringing in IT services to clean up the mess, or the price of handling the potential breach of personal information associated with the malware.
“CryptoWall 3.0 is the most advanced crypto-ransom malware at the moment,” said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of the security training company KnowBe4, in an e-mail to Ars. “The $18 million in losses is likely much more, as many companies do not report their infections to the FBI and the downtime caused by these infections is much higher.”
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