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Top Story: Why "Satan" ransomware is the scariest virus to ever hit the internet

Top Story: Why "Satan" ransomware is the scariest virus to ever hit the internet
© Kaspars Grinvalds | Dreamstime.com

2016 was a banner year for cybercriminals. Phishing scams, data breaches and DDoS attacks seemed to dominate the headlines.

Although the most rampant digital threat was ransomware. It's estimated that last year alone, ransomware scams cost victims nearly $1 billion. Now, there is a new technique going around that could make that number explode.

A new ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) has been discovered in the Dark Web. This could seriously elevate the number of ransomware attacks.

What is RaaS?

RaaS is a user-friendly type of ransomware that can be deployed by anyone, even if they have very little technical ability. How it works is, an experienced hacker writes the ransomware code and sells it to others for deployment.

The buyer then sets the ransom and payment deadline, along with the distribution style. It's super easy for anyone with aspirations of becoming a cybercriminal to do so.

The latest RaaS, named "Satan," was discovered by a researcher who goes by the name Xylitol on the Dark Web. It allows anyone to register an account and design their own version of Satan Ransomware. You don't even have to pay an upfront fee, the virus developer gets paid by taking a 30 percent cut of victims' payments.

satan

Image: Promotion of Satan ransomware found on Dark Web (Source: Xylitol)

Now that anyone can get into the ransomware business, we need to be more vigilant than ever.

How to handle ransomware

Obviously, not having your gadget infected with ransomware would be ideal. Read these tips on boosting your safety online to help.

Ransomware attacks have become such a serious threat that U.S. security agencies have taken notice. Here are some tips from the FBI on handling ransomware attacks:

  • Back up data regularly - this could be the best way to recover your critical data if you are infected.
  • Make sure your backups are secure - do not connect your backups to computers or networks that they are backing up.
  • Never open risky links in emails - don't open attachments from unsolicited emails.
  • Download only trusted software - make sure the software you download comes from trusted sites.
  • Have strong security software - This will help prevent the installation of ransomware on your gadget.

Listen to our podcast for more helpful protection ideas:

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