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Trend Micro – Cyber Criminals may Attack SMEs with Ransomware

Trend Micro, an Internet security firm, has forecasted in its 2009 E-threat Report that during Q4 2009, there will be an increased use of ransomware to attack SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) instead of private home users, as reported by Business Standard on October 8, 2009.

A ransomware attack involves the use of malware to compromise files and directories of a computer user by encrypting them and subsequently demand money for giving decryption code. Furthermore, ransomware is characterized by the capability of eluding the "Safe Mode," suitably changing displayed messages, preventing the use of taskbar, using schedule payload along with specific keyboard shortcuts, and executing reboot of system.

Internet security specialists state that there are enough funds with SMEs for criminals to extort and therefore attacks are possible. Moreover, these businesses lack the much needed infrastructure for tackling malware assaults, leading them sometimes to pay money to criminals so that they can regain control over their computers.

As organizations have adopted a limited-budgeting approach at the present time of financial crisis, fragile firms could become subjects of ransomware attacks in which they could succumb to massive pay-off requests of criminals in anticipation of avoiding damaging results, said specialists at Trend Micro.

Security analysts comment that as malware increases along with improvement in their techniques, online criminals will keep on creating and unleashing software that help to bypass detection and subsequent elimination.

According to the specialists, a large number of different ransomware are used by scammers, while spammers have created ransomware in high percentages during the recent periods. For instance - a particularly recent ransomware detected during late August 2009 is a malware variant, which hijacks PCs till the victim agrees to send a SMS at a premium rate phone number.

Additionally, Trend Micro spotted another ransomware during late June 2009 and called it "WORM_RANSOM.FD." This worm is installed from remote websites with the help of other malicious programs or when a user unknowingly downloads it while browsing malevolent websites.

Related article: Trend Micro Detects Spam Mail Declaring World War III

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