Reevert Publishes a New Investigation of the Origins of Ransomware
LOS ANGELES, CA - 01/12/2017 (PRESS RELEASE JET) — SaaS backup solution Reevert is designed to protect the company’s clients against ransomware, a rapidly growing and all too common form of malware. Ransomware attacks have been making headlines since at least 2013, although similar malware existed prior to that time.
Ransomware can be surprisingly profitable for hackers, which is part of the reason that it’s become such a popular form of fraud. In many cases, due to a lack of safeguards in place, companies have little choice but to simply pay the ransom to get their files back.
But where did ransomware originally come from, and how did it get so popular? This is exactly the question that Reevert sought to answer in their latest blog post, “The Story of Ransomware.”
Exploring the History of Ransomware Attacks
The article begins by examining the historical development of ransomware, which is around eleven years old. 2005 marked the first instance of a true ransomware attack, although Joseph Popp’s 1989 “AIDS” computer virus, also known as “PC Cyborg,” shared many similarities to modern ransomware. This early ransomware attack was delivered via 20,000 diskettes distributed at the World Health Organization’s AIDS conference. “AIDS” was primitive by today’s standards, and the affected files were successfully decrypted. However, it introduced the idea of using encryption to corrupt files and extort a ransom.
By 2006, the trojans used in ransomware attacks had developed more sophisticated ways of using RSA encryption schemes with larger key sizes, making it all but impossible for victims to decrypt the files independently.
Through the late 2000s and early 2010s, ransomware continued to develop and to increase in popularity. By 2010, the threat was well known in the international cybersecurity community. At that time, one of the most common forms of ransomware, Reveton, disguised itself as notifications from the FBI or other law enforcement agencies. The victim would be informed that their computer was “locked for investigation” over child pornography or other criminal activity. They’d be offered an opportunity to pay to have the charges dropped. Of course, there were never any actual legal charges.
Following in Reveton’s footsteps, 2013’s Cryptolocker remains one of the most notorious ransomware attacks. What set Cryptolocker apart was its use of nearly unbreakable encryption, making files impossible to recover without paying the ransom. Targeted primarily at business professionals, it spread through email attachments. Cryptolocker set the stage for today’s ransomware, which uses forms of encryption that are essentially impossible to decrypt.
An Evolutionary Arms Race: Keeping Up with the Evolution of Ransomware
Reevert’s investigation and accompanying article reveal that ransomware has a relatively long history, by internet standards, and continues to evolve and develop further over time. As a backup software service specifically designed to protect customers against ransomware attacks, Reevert’s success depends on the development team’s close monitoring of new trends in ransomware.
It’s clear that ransomware isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. From “AIDS” in 1989, to Cryptolocker, to today’s CryptoWall and TorrentLocker, ransomware continues to develop and find new ways to circumvent security measures. By staying on the cutting edge of the latest developments in ransomware, Reevert’s developers help their customers protect their most important data against it.
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