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New ransomware feature makes it even more dangerous

New ransomware feature makes it even more dangerous
© Hong Li | Dreamstime.com

Ransomware quickly rose to become the biggest software security threat of 2016. Its meteoric rise as the cybercriminals' malware of choice was so rapid, the number of ransomware victims increased by a shocking 550 percent last year alone.

One thing about ransomware that's so appealing to cybercriminals, aside from its profitability, is its adaptability. It's constantly evolving, as cybercriminals change their code to suit their needs and to elude security software. In fact, in a quarter of 2016 alone, 2,900 modifications to different ransomware variants were detected by security researchers.

One ransomware variant discovered recently may have a new trick or two up its sleeves. Nicknamed Spora, this new malware doesn't rename the files it encrypts but instead, drops a sleek HTML-based ransom note and a .KEY file with a unique user ID assigned to the victim.

If you proceed with your user ID on the ransom note, you will be taken to a professionally designed website and will be offered two "packages."

The first option offers a relatively low payment for recovering your files. The second package offers to unlock your files, remove the ransomware and, here's the fresh twist, grants you immunity from any future Spora attacks. This is certainly a first in ransomware attacks.

Another advanced feature of Spora, which was apparently just added recently, is offline encryption. This is similar to the upgrade the RAA ransomware received last year.

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