With the invention of bitcoin, Ransomware was made possible. Prior to bitcoin it was difficult for the bad guys to get paid as it was easy to follow the money back to them. With bitcoin it is very difficult to impossible to follow the money back. Ransomware is a form of virus or malware that infects a computer and encrypts all of your documents, pictures and even music and videos on your computer and generally will then go out over the network and encrypt any other resources that it can find. They then ask for money to give you the keys to unencrypt your information. This has been the single biggest problem for a number of years and there are many of knock-off versions of the original which were not as well written as the first and have caused even more problems in that, even after paying the ransom, people have not got their data back due to several errors in the process.
Whilst Ransomware is still a very big problem and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, there is a new malware around that is taking over from ransomware in terms of the size of the problem. Instead of going through the process of encrypting your data and getting you to do something to pay them, which is also becoming more and more difficult due to people taking regular backups, and anyone using our Cloud accounts or Backup will have ShareSync, which gives you Ransomware protection for all the backed up files. They cannot be sure they will get any money for each installation making it an expensive and less fruitful endeavour. Now they are just stealing your computer processor, memory and electricity to make crypto currency themselves.
What do they do?
Well they install a virus on your computer, and then it sets about making crypto currency on your computer for them. This means that they do not have to pay for the computer or electricity, which is very expensive in creating crypto currency, in fact most of the time the amount you pay for the electricity is more than what you make in the currency itself. This makes it very lucrative to use other people’s computers and electricity to generate crypto currency for them. Some even use websites to this for them. When you visit a website, it downloads as part of the page a crypto-miner that mines crypto currency for the bad guys. This makes it lucrative to hack websites and install malware on it so when someone visits the website they are infected. It is important to look for the malware checking services such as SiteLock, which we use ourselves and you can get FREE copy of SiteLock Lite with every Feature Rich Hosting account, here.
Some of these crypto miners will only be active when you are on the site and others will download to your computer and remain there and carry on working after you leave the site. Either way you need to be careful with your computer and make sure that you check, if your computer suddenly starts running slow as you may have picked up one of these viruses. Thousands of sites are infected every day so just because it was ok yesterday, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be ok today. That is why it is important as a website owner to make sure you have a virus scanner that checks your website files as frequently as possible. If you can afford it you should also upgrade to get more protection in the form of advanced checks to check your site is free from cross site scripting and other vulnerabilities, which SiteLock can help you with.
If you notice that your website or computer are running slower than you think they should be then make sure you run a virus check and possibly get professional help. Another issue is that once you get one of these viruses in to your system, you are then left open as they can then sell space on your computer to other crypto miners or banking Trojans or worms and you then become the conduit for infecting other people’s computers on your network and occasionally on other websites,
If you think you have a problem on your computer then get in touch with your IT department or whoever looks after your computer. If you have no-one or would like a second opinion submit a support ticket here and we will call you to see if we can help you. (Charges will apply and will be fully discussed and agreed before any work commences so you will know the costs).
Why are these viruses not picked up by antivirus software?
Crypto miners themselves are not viruses, they are legitimate pieces of software that you can go and get yourself and install and mine for crypto currencies. All the bad guys do is take a copy of the crypto currency miner that they want and install it on your computer and then add their account details so any mined currency goes to them and then they tell it to run in the background and not to disturb you. Generally speaking this means that they will not ever be seen as bad software by antivirus software.