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Encrypted Viruses as the Plague of the New Millennium

The Internet has never been safe enough – browsing online has always meant putting oneself under the threat of contracting a virus. However, as viruses become more difficult to deal with, Internet safety software is getting more complex and sophisticated (Brafford para. 1). As a result, the XXI century viruses no longer hinder the user’s net surfing or block computer programs from performing its basic functions – they encrypt the files that users store on the computer hard disk.

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In his article, John P. Mello, Jr. provides a short overview of the history of the problem and outlines the major threats that the 2014 ransomware “innovations” have brought onto the cybersociety. According to Mello, “easy money” is what makes “cyber bandits” create numerous crypters. While previous types of Trojans merely encrypted the files, creating new types of extensions, the new malware scatters bits of the encrypted files all over the hard disk, thus, making the process of their assembling impossible without the original digital key (Mello para. 3).

The logics behind generating crypters is very easy to understand: demanding comparatively small amounts of money, from $100 to $300, the creators of the virus make a safe bet. Indeed, for an average user, it will be much easier to pay $100 for a digital key instead of $2,000 for a new laptop. Mello warns that crypters may become the plague of the XXI century cybersociety.

Another analysis of the cryptolockers issue, the article written by Maller, Sechan and Hope allows evaluating the effects that crypters have on business and economics. Apart from affecting average users, cryptoviruses pose a tangible threat to a range of organizations, thus, jeopardizing state economy.

True, crypters can be unblocked with the help of experts or, in the worst case scenario, by paying a relatively small ransom to the creators of the virus. However, unlocking crypters takes time, which makes them deadly for the organizations with time-sensitive deadlines (Maller, Sechan and Hope para. 1).

The FBI Moneypack and the FBR virus are currently the most dangerous ones for companies. The choice of the virus title is predetermined by the fact that such an abbreviation as “RBI” is traditionally taken very seriously. Therefore, employees trust the malware and launch it.

Though Proia does not exactly speak on the issue of crypters, he does provide an interesting analysis of the issue of “hacktivism.” More to the point, Proja relates it to the First Amendment (Proja para. 1).

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The author refers to another paper on the topic, “Hacktivism and the First Amendment: Drawing the line between cyber protests and crime” (Proja para. 2). According to Proja, fighting the phenomenon of hacktivism may not comply with the First Amendment (Proja para. 4). However, the author claims that the evolution of hacktivism is expected. As a result, it will finally be recognized as one of blocks to people’s freedoms.

Proja ends his article with a quotation from the aforementioned article. Thus, the author leaves much food for thoughts. Though not devoted to the issue of cryptoviruses, the article is related directly to the problem of hacking.

Finally, the article by deserves a mentioning. The author comments on the means to fight cryptoviruses. The author offers a detailed overview of the steps to be taken when contracting a cryptovirus or receiving the warning (“UK Cyber-Crime Unit Issues Urgent “Ransomware” Warning” para. 2).

According to the author, the NCCU (National Cyber Crime Unit) has recently been formed to address cybercrime issues. However, the NCCU is helpless in this case. NCCU can only define the malware as a piece of Cryptolocker.

NCA also warns that paying the ransom does not guarantee removing the virus. Investigation has been going on for several months, with no results, though. As NCA takes the necessary actions, malware producers create new methods of getting ransom money.

Works Cited

Brafford, John.” Ransomware and the Rise of the Sophisticated, Automated Hacker.” NC Law Blog 2012. Web.

Maller, Marianne, Vidya Sechanand Bob Hope. Ransomware in the Enterprise. eMazzanti 2013. Web.

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Mello, John. CryptoLocker’s Success Will Fuel Future Copycats. CSO 2014. Web.

Proja, Andrew A. “Featured Article: Hacktivism and the First Amendment: Drawing the Line between Cyber Protests and Crime.” Cybercrime Review 2014. Web.

“UK Cyber-Crime Unit Issues Urgent “Ransomware” Warning.” 2014. Web.

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