Bad Rabbit is the latest ransomware to hit the headlines – for anyone who hasn’t heard, this is a fresh cyber-attack that has primarily hit systems in the Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Germany with the aim of extorting cash from users by locking down their computer until they pay in £280 in Bitcoins to regain access.
Bad Rabbit is just one of several massive malware attacks this year, hard on heels of WannaCry which hit NHS computers in May and NotPetya (aka ExPetr), which seems to be a relation of Bad Rabbit and came to light in June after hitting the financial and industrial sectors hard. These attacks ask users for money to unlock their own devices, but NotPetya was particularly notorious as payment did not result in the computer being unlocked.
These of course are not the only ones currently out there; malware exists in many forms with many codenames, which is why it is so important to have security software running on all your devices. A malware attack doesn’t just impact one person or device; it will easily spread through a network and can bring a company and infrastructure to its knees in minutes. BadRabbit alone has infected the Odessa airport and Kiev subway in Ukraine, in turn meaning that customers cannot pay by credit card for fares and has partially paralysed their IT systems.
Another type of malware attack to be wary of is those that secretly use your computer to mine Biocoins. One example of this is the Coin-Hive project, which is perfectly legal, but the code has been hacked to be placed onto computers without the owner’s knowledge. This script then mines for Bitcoins with the hacker benefiting from the profits. Not only is this illegal and unfair, mining for Bitcoins makes computers work extremely hard and can cause physical damage to the machine.
It is important that we all keep on top of our anti-virus and malware protection, as well as using common sense, especially with Google Play Protect being seen as fairly lax with malware detection on Android devices (http://bit.ly/2z5MRzE):-
- Don’t open files sent by unknown senders, especially those that are masquerading to be from a well-known service such as Paypal or eBay.
- Update your security systems regularly and allow your security software to auto update whenever patches or updates are released
- Don’t download software or buy from websites that don’t have security certificates or run on secure servers; the same also applies to apps.
- If you suspect you have been infected, make sure you run security software as soon as possible, and do not pay the hackers to clear the problem, as there is no guarantee this will happen or that the computer and data will be restored.