New Malware Locks Up Computers, Demands Ransom

Being infected with malware sucks, as does a new piece of ransomware researchers have found.

Anyone who has been infected with malware knows how much it flat out sucks. Often times, a machine will be so bogged down by malware that you’ll have to run system restore and recovery.A new type of malware, known as ransomware, may be even worse than the usual breed of malware, locking people out of their own computers until they pay some ransom money to have it unlocked.

“The infection vector is a well known drive-by exploit kit called ‘Blackhole,'” said the Swiss security bog Abuse.CH. “It is sold in underground forum and used by various criminal groups to infected computers ‘on the fly’ by (ab)using one or more security vulnerabilities in the victim’s web browser (or a third party plug-in like Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader or Java). In this case a Blackhole exploit kit located at pampa04.com was involved to spread the ransomware.”

CNET said, as an example, that if Java isn’t up to date with the latest patches, this downloaded Blackhole file will exploit the weakness by downloading the malicious software and running it. You’ll then get a message saying you’ve been locked out of your computer for downloading pirated music, which is something that could obviously scare a number of internet users.

CNET said people in the U.K., for example, may see a message of  “to unlock your computer and to avoid other legal consequences, you are obligated to pay a release fee of 50 pounds.” So far, this type of ransomware has only been reported in Europe. But this is not the first time that ransomware has reared its ugly head. As always, you should keep your browsers and computer security programs up to date.

Have you ever had your computer held hostage like this? Let us know in the comments.

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.