Howard Business 11.18.15 - Ransomware - Chimera

Ransomware - Chimera

As if having your files locked away by a ransomware infection wasn't already bad enough, there's a new reason for dread. Criminals are now threatening to dump the files they take hostage online for everyone to see if victims don't pay in a timely manner.

Before, there was a relatively easy way to deal with ransomware. If you maintained a current set of backups, all you had to do was wipe your machine, install your OS from scratch, and restore the affected files from your backup. If, on the other hand, you didn't keep good backups, you found yourself in a real pickle.

Do you pay a criminal and trust that they'll deliver on the promise of decrypting your files? A number of police departments wound up paying, and they're the same people who've been telling the public not to make deals with ransomers.

The twist with this new ransomware strain, which researchers are calling Chimera, will make it incredibly difficult for a lot of victims to say no. Even if you think that you have nothing to hide, do you really want some criminal lowlife dumping all the documents, photos, and other data that their malware got its filthy paws on all over the Internet?

If there's any good news to come out of this it's that so far the threat of dumping files may be a hollow one. Just because a threat is hollow doesn't mean it's not going to work, though. And even if that's the case right now, malware evolves so rapidly that it won't be long before some other criminal gang realizes this could be a very profitable tweak to make.