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September 2, 2014

CryptoWall overtakes CryptoLocker as most destructive ransomware

File-encrypting ransomware encrypted 5.25 billion files extorting $1.1 million.

By CBR Staff Writer

CryptoWall is turning out to be the leading and most destructive ransomware threat on the Internet

It is even surpassing CryptoLocker with 625,000 infections globally, a new threat report from Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit revealed.

This file-encrypting ransomware has reportedly encrypted 5.25 billion files and accumulated more than $1.1 million in ransoms in an approximately five-month period, the report noted.

According to the research report, CryptoWall has, however, been less effective at generating income compared to CryptoLocker.

The report noted: "Both malware families accepted payments via Bitcoin, with 0.27% of CryptoWall victims and 0.21% of CryptoLocker victims paying ransoms in bitcoins.

"As of this publication, CryptoWall has only collected 37% of the total ransoms collected by CryptoLocker despite infecting nearly 100,000 more victims.

"CryptoWall’s higher average ransom amounts and the technical barriers typical consumers encounter when attempting to obtain bitcoins has likely contributed to this malware family’s more modest success."

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The report noted that CryptoWall victims typically paid between $200 and $2,000 in ransom to unlock their files, with one them being forked over $10,000.

Dell suggests users to block executable files and compressed archives; always update OSs, browsers, and browser plugins; do not allow known indicators from communicating with network; and re-evaluate permissions on shared network drives to thwart unprivileged users from altering files.

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