The FBI has reported that the Cryptowall ransomware infection has led to user expenses of over $18 million in a little over a year.
Cryptowall is a type of infection known as ransomware. This means that it infiltrates computers and encrypts all files on it. In return for decrypting your files, it will demand a fee to be paid, which is usually about $500, but in some cases can be more.
There are numerous ransomware infections that are lurking to pounce on unsuspecting users. Some of them even use scare tactics to get users to pay the ransom. Some pretend to be law-enforcement agencies, like local police, the FBI, Interpol, etc. They threaten with prison time if users a reluctant to pay. However, these are empty threats.
Cryptowall is not an infection that pretends to be a law-enforcement agency, and it only targets residents in the US. Ransomware infections use various tactics to infiltrate computers. They can use phishing emails, websites hosting exploit kits, they can be attached to freeware, and so on.
The Cryptowall virus is constantly evolving. One of the major changes made by the scammers behind the virus is that they have implemented Tor in order for its command-and-control infrastructure to remain hidden. This makes it a lot harder for these scammers to be located. Other ransomware infections also use Tor. A notable example of this is Citroni.
Cryptowall is no joke. Not only because of the fee it demands. But there are additional costs related to the virus, as well. Having it on a PC, can put the whole network that it is connected with in danger. So, victims of the virus suffer from loss of productivity, they have to pay for legal fees, network mitigation and countermeasures, and IT services, some even employ credit monitoring services. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has reported that it has received 992 complaints regarding the Cryptowall infection. These victims alone have had expenses in excess of $18 million dollars related directly or indirectly to the virus attacks.
Law-enforcement agencies have had some progress in fighting ransomware infections. Just had a multinational operation, which managed to take a bite out of the CryptoLocker infrastructure. They managed to seize some command-and-control servers. Last year, they also managed to disrupt the GameOver Zeus Botnet, which is another type ransomware infection that has caused great harm to users.
As you can see, Cryptowall is a very dangerous infection. This is why it is important to take preventive measures to ensure that it does not enter your computer. Otherwise, not only will you have great expenses, but you risk losing all of the files on your PC, too. Although ransomware infections claim that they will decrypt your files once you have paid the sum of money it wants you to, this is far from true. It is highly likely that your PC will remain locked. Scammers have no interest in decrypting your files.
The best thing to do is not to click on any fishing emails or links, also make sure not to visit any shady websites. Also have in mind that if any computers on your network have been corrupted by Cryptowall, then your PC is likely to be the next target.