Ransomware attacks have been on the rise since 2015. Almost every week, security experts discover a new form of ransomware that's targeting new victims. Whether it's Ranscam, which poses as a Windows 10 update to trick you into clicking, or Locky, which hides in Microsoft Word attachments to sneak past weak anti-virus software, each form of ransomware finds a new way to lock down your system.
One of the most recent forms of ransomware was discovered by the malware researcher, MalwareHunter Team. This new ransomware is being called "Cry," or sometimes, "CSTO," because once your system is infected, a message pops up that claims to be from the Central Security Treatment Organization.
This organization, of course, does not exist.
CSTO's other name, "Cry," comes from the fact that this nasty malware corrupts all of your data - including Word Documents, photos, PDFs, spreadsheets, etc. - by converting them into .cry file types.
Watch this video to see CSTO/CRY ransomware in action:
On average, CSTO ransomware requests payments of around 1.1 Bitcoins to regain access to your files. This is the equivalent of about $600. It is also believed that this ransomware can use websites such as Imgur.com to host data it has collected from its victims and that it's even able to somehow connect to Google Maps and identify the victim's exact location.
Currently, it's unclear why the hackers may be collecting this information. Regardless, this is not information you want a hacker to have access to.
CSTO/CRY ransomware is rare but dangerous. Not only does it take over your system, it also leads to poor system performance even if you can get around the ransom. This is because the CSTO/CRY strand also secretly installs other forms of malware on your device.
If your computer is unprotected, and you happen to encounter the CSTO/CRY ransomware, you can attempt to remove it by uninstalling the programs it affects. Depending on the severity, you may also need to wipe your computer and restore it back to the factory settings. Click here for instructions on removing unwanted programs, and here for instructions on wiping your hard drive clean.