Ah ransomware, that annoying malware that puts you on a nerve and that everyone ends up catching from time to time. Ransomware – along with DDoS attacks – witnessed a solid increase over time, not only in numbers but in severity too. After striking San Francisco’s public transports – infecting their beloved tramcars – the flavor of this kind of virus corrupts your device in a way that it discredits you in front of your contacts. If you end up catching one of these viruses you may get the chance to remove it for free, as long as you infect two other computers. However, you may end up with some serious trust issues…
Hack a Friend for Your Own Care
Ransomware works basically as an easy way for hackers to get paid. This type of malware attacks your computer once an infected link is opened and basically locks your computer by encrypting whatever files the perpetrator finds convenient using AES-256 encryption – the same military-grade standards used by VPNs. If you cannot remove the virus yourself or if you fail to pay within the given time, you may well kiss your documents goodbye for good.
Hackers tend to demand the ransom in Bitcoin because of the anonymous nature of the currency. The “Popcorn Time” ransomware (not related with the streaming service) is not different, forcing the victim to pay one Bitcoin (around $780!) in exchange for unlocking the computer. However, this particular attack now also gives a link with a unique ID, containing the same malware you’re dealing with, asking you to send it to two other people. If the victims of your treacherous act end up opening the TOR link and pay the ransom money, you are pretty much set on the loose for free.
One must admit that from the hacker point-of-view this is quite the clever strategy, as the attack will spread at an accelerated pace, possibly doubling after “freeing” a single computer. At the moment there is still no cure from this type of attack so the best advice we can give you is to not open any dubious Onion links, even if it was sent by your friends.
The Safe Use of TOR
TOR (short for The Onion Router) is a private network that allows you to visit the dark corners of the web, pages inaccessible via Google or even by typing in their name. Labelled as .onion pages, these were actually created as a way to make your internet activities secret. It’s indeed harder to follow your footsteps when using a series of virtual tunnels, just like a VPN for instance. However, living in a more than peculiar world also means that even TOR was corrupted and used to set up all kinds of maleficent and harmful pages – like ransomware ones – which led many global authorities, including the almighty NSA, to hunt down those who use it.
Furthermore, as our previous guide presented, there are benefits when using TOR and VPNs together, with some providers even supporting all kinds of torrenting, another practice that authorities and governments try to stop with more and more cases seeing the light of day.
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