Computer viruses have been around even before the rise of the internet, and in 2015 they’re still as much a problem as they’ve always been. In 2015, ransomware viruses are on the increase. Secure Data Recovery explains that these types of viruses stop a computer from being used properly, and, once the computer is infected, a ‘ransom’ is then demanded in return for making the computer usable again.
A malvertising virus, as the name implies, is a virus that infects ads, and news broke of the Kovter virus in January, 2015. The ads were served on specific websites, via AOL, who took action to stop the spread of the virus. People using outdated browsers were, in particular, at risk of their computers being infected by this ransomware virus. Once PCs had been infected, hackers started to blackmail affected users by only making the PCs usable again in return for money. More disturbing was that, for Americans, a fake message from the FBI appeared on the affected user’s computer screen, demanding payment of a fine for allegedly viewing illegal material. Similarly fake messages from law enforcement agencies appeared on the screens of users in other countries. While, both the mouse and keyboard were made unusable by the virus.
It’s important to remember that CryptoWall is the new name for CryptoLocker. Infecting emails is the most common way that this virus catches out the unsuspecting, but it uses a very old method, i.e. it infects a computer after an attachment has been opened. A ransom is demanded, and if it isn’t paid within a week, then the initial amount is doubled. Worryingly, this virus is constantly being updated, and the criminals behind this virus are getting increasingly more sophisticated.
News of this ransomware virus, which targets gamers, surfaced in March, 2015. Gamers are prevented from playing their favourite games by computer-related malware that goes under the name of Teslacrypt. A ransom is demanded in return for letting the affected individuals go back to playing games that include the popular Call of Duty and Minecraft. The virus itself infects saved games and consequently encrypts them to make them unplayable. Some 40 games are targeted in all. The ransom can either be paid through Bitcoins, or by a Paypal My Cash payment card. Curiously, paying out through the latter method is twice as expensive as it is compared to the former. Fibre broadband has made life easier for gamers, because of increases in connection speed, but, unfortunately, cyber criminals have recognised this too.
Phishing is bad enough, but now there are phishing attempts that include a virus too. One recent example was the Peter Pan virus from September, 2014. That virus seemed likely to be a sign of things to come for 2015. The Peter Pan virus involved the email recipient receiving an invoice, in the shape of an attachment, for a performance of Peter Pan in Bournemouth. Once the attachment is opened then the virus begins its work.