Feeds

Trojan attack takes files hostage

Protection money

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Virus writers have taken to extortion with malicious code that can hold documents on infected PCs hostage. The attack attempts to extort money from victims by encoding files on their PCs using a Trojan horse before requesting payment for a decoder tool.

The Trojan downloader (download-aag AKA Pgpcoder) exploits a well-known Internet Explorer vulnerability (MS04-023) to download hostile code onto vulnerable Windows boxes. It then searches for files with various extensions and encodes them. The original documents are deleted and the newly encoded files become unreadable. The malware also drops a message onto the system with instructions on how to buy the tool needed to decode the files, demanding payment of $200 from victims if they ever want to see their documents again.

The cyber extortion attack, first identified by net security firm Websense, represents a pernicious development in hacker tactics but with few documented cases there's no need to panic. Furthermore the attack relies on the download of code from a site which has since been taken offline. Nonetheless users would be wise to protect their systems and back up their data as a precaution against this type of attack. ®

Related stories

Online extortion works
Net extortionists in child porn threat
Feds bust DDoS 'Mafia'
Extradition ruled out in bookie extortion case
New Bagle worm drops in and downloads
UK police issue 'vicious' Trojan alert

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.