If the ever-increasing list of ‘things to worry about for your small business’ isn’t growing fast enough, then the latest McAfee Labs Threats Report from Intel should send shivers up your spine: our old enemy, ‘Ransomware’, is on the rise again – along with a couple of new threat vectors, each designed to disrupt, destroy or even steal your small business.
In the first quarter of 2015, the report says, new ransomware surged 165%, “largely due to proliferation of the CTB-Locker family and its “affiliate” program, a new ransomware family called Teslacrypt, and new versions of CryptoWall, TorrentLocker and BandarChor”.
The new variants, according the report, are as follows:
- CTB-Locker – uses clever techniques for evading security software with higher-quality phishing emails and an “affiliates” program that offers accomplices a percentage of ransom payments in return for flooding cyberspace with CTB-Locker phishing messages
- Teslacrypt – has taken specific aim at online gamers and their unique assets, between February and April 2015 Cybercriminals have collected $76,522 from 163 victims
- TOX – a new ransomware kit discovered by Intel Security that makes it easier than ever for low-skilled cybercriminals to launch and operate ransomware crime rings
Additionally, the report states that new Adobe Flash malware grew 317%, “as attackers shift focus from Java archive and Microsoft Silverlight vulnerabilities to exploit un-patched Adobe Flash vulnerabilities”. The new malware made use of 42 separate Adobe Flash vulnerabilities – an incredible number of issues with what has been a mainstay of many media expressions on the internet for a very long time.
Most alarmingly, however, is the rise of hard disk drive (HDD) and solid state drive (SSD) reprogramming technologies. It’s all pretty technical to explain, but the upshot of these attack vectors is that the end-user’s HDD or SDD can become infected, and impossible to clean – even with the traditional ‘reformat and re-install the operating system’ fallback position when all other virus scans fail to clear the system.
As always, anyone using a computer is urged to ensure that they exercise caution when visiting unknown websites, clicking on links in emails or opening attachments that they aren’t 100% sure are clear of risks.