Security software vendor Sophos is warning users to be on the lookout for a new malware scheme in which online thieves manage to infect their mobile devices and PCs and then attempt to extort money from them in order to unlock their files.
As eSecurity Planet reports, these so-called ransomware schemes are becoming more and more common and put users in the unhappy position of either paying off the thieves and risking future harassment or saying goodbye to files, including photos and videos, residing on their devices.
The attack, which Sophos has identified as Troj/Ransom-U, lets users know they’ve been had by changing their Windows desktop wallpaper to a crude ransom note advising victims to wire $120 to an account under their control and to keep quiet about the attack if they ever want their files, including photos and videos, to be unlocked.
Hackers are taking a new and much more direct approach to fleece unsuspecting Internet users: extortion.
According to security software vendor Sophos, malware authors have compromised a number of websites with ransomware — essentially a Trojan that encrypts media and Microsoft Office files — that makes it impossible for infected users to access their Word, Excel and other files.