22 April 2018
Robert Siciliano

Identity Theft Expert

Robert Siciliano - IDTheftSecurity.com

747Posts 2,140,496Views 62Comments

Ransomware Hackers provide Customer Service Dept. to Victims

28 May 2016  |  6457 views  |  0

Yes, believe it or not, ransomware has become such a booming business for thieves, that these cyber thugs even provide bona fide customer service departments to guide their victims!

When ransomware infects your computer, it holds your files hostage; you can’t access them—until you pay the hacker (usually in bitcoins). Once paid, the crook will give you a decryption “key.” Sometimes the fee will go up if you don’t pay by a deadline. Fees may a few to hundred to several hundred dollars to way more for big businesses.

Thieves typically include instructions on how to pay up, and they mean business, sometimes being “nice” enough to offer alternatives to the tedious bitcoin process. They may even free one file at no cost just to show you they’re true to their word.

As the ransomware business flourished, particularly Cryptolocker and CryptoWall, hackers began adding support pages on their sites to victims.

An article at businessinsider.com mentions that one victim was able to negotiate a cheaper ransom payment.

Why would thieves support victims?

  • It raises the percentages of payments made; the easier the process, the more likely the victim will pay. The businessinsider.com article quotes one ransomware developer as stating, “I tried to be as [much of] a gentleman thief as my position allowed me to be.”
  • It makes sense: If victims are clueless about obtaining bitcoins and are seeking answers, why wouldn’t the crook provide help?

Perhaps the most compelling reason why bad hackers would want to help their victims is to get the word out that if victims pay the ransom, they WILL get their decryption key to unlock their encrypted files.

This reputation puts the idea into the heads of victims to “trust” the cyberthief. Otherwise, if ransomware developers don’t give the key to paying victims, then word will spread that it’s useless to pay the ransom. This is not good for the profit-seeking hacker.

These crooks want everyone to know that payment begets the key. What better way to establish this reliability than to provide “customer” support on websites and also via call centers where victims can talk to live people?

Apparently, at least one ransomware developer has a call center where victims can phone in and get guidance on how to get back their files.

Prevent ransomware by keeping your devices update with the latest OS, antivirus, updated browser, and back up your data both locally and in the cloud.

 

 

a member-uploaded image TagsSecurity

Comments: (0)

Comment on this story (membership required)

Latest posts from Robert

Mobile Phone Numbers Are as Sensitive as Your Social Security Number

19 April 2018  |  1754 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

The Term Identity Theft Protection is Often a Lie

06 April 2018  |  5455 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

Use a Password Manager Or You WILL Get Hacked

19 March 2018  |  3756 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

14 Social Media Disasters Ready to Strike

03 March 2018  |  4877 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

Understanding and Stopping Criminal Identity Theft

23 February 2018  |  6555 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

Robert's profile

job title Security Analyst
location Boston
member since 2010
Summary profile See full profile »
Security analyst, published author, television news correspondent. Deliver presentations throughout the United States, Canada and internationally on identity theft protection and personal security....

Robert's expertise

Member since 2009
739 posts62 comments

Who's commenting on Robert's posts