Anyone can now become a cyber-criminal thanks to a new Ransomware as a Service tool discovered on the ‘darknet’ by researchers at McAfee.

The latest advance puts even more pressure on organisations to ensure the safety of their information.

The tool (branded Tox) lets anybody, regardless of their technical ability, automatically create ransomware software. This particular strand silently encrypts a victim’s hard drive and/or network, takes it ransom and demands a payment before decrypting it. The most notorious and widespread example of this is CryptoLocker, which demanded payment in the form of Bitcoins.

Tox now threatens to elevate the ransomware trend and as anyone can create a virus there are unlimited possibilities. Any user can register on the website and create the software, where they have the option to set the ransom amount and add a personal note.

Ransomware as a serviceTox then automatically creates the relevant virus which can be downloaded and shared however the attacker requires. To top it off in its new business model, Tox takes a 20% cut of any ransom paid.

As the virus and software is free, there is seemingly nothing to lose for the hackers in this situation.

“We don’t expect Tox to be the last malware to embrace this model. We also anticipate more skilled development and variations in encryption and evasion techniques,” writes McAfee’s Jim Walter.

Protect your business

  • Never open or download any files that you are not anticipating and if you have to, scan them with a reliable anti-virus before opening.
  • Ensure that your systems are patched and protected from the latest threats.
  • Take regular backups of your systems and data

Speak to a member of the virtualDCS team if you would like any additional information on how to protect your systems.

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