Gpcode Trojan Ransomeware Kidnapping Again!

Have you ever considered your computer files as a victim of kidnapping, extortion, or blackmail? Hard to believe; right? Well believe it! Ransomware is a vicious form of malware, taking into account that it encrypts the victim’s files, after which the cyber-criminal demands a monetary ransom to decrypt the kidnapped files.

Trend Micro Advanced Threats Researcher, Ivan Macalintal, recently reported that Gpcode ransomware is loose on the Internet once again. Regular readers of this Blog will remember two previous articles in which this virulent malware was discussed.

First encountered two years ago by Kaspersky Lab, Gpcode has undergone several incarnations, with this latest version being identified by Trend Micro as TROJ_RANDSOM.A

Reportedly, Gpcode is now using a 1,024 bit encryption key, as opposed to 660 bits in an early variant. It has been estimated it would require 30 years to break this new encryption key using a brute force attack; trying every possible password.

According to Trend Micro TROJ_RANDSOM.A:

Can be downloaded from remote site(s) by other malware

May be dropped by other malware

May be downloaded unknowingly by a user when visiting malicious Web site(s)

(Fake error message upon malware execution. Courtesty Trend Micro)

As with previous versions of this malware, after installation, the victim is informed that the computer’s files have been encrypted and a decrypting tool must be purchased, for US $307, from the cyber-criminal, in order to decrypt the affected files. Email addresses are included in order to facilitate this fraudulent purchase.

Affected systems: Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, and Server 2003.

(Process illustration courtesty of Trend Micro)

If you should become infected by this Trojan your best course of action, assuming your installed malware scanners cannot remove the infection, is to take advantage of the multiple online scanners offered by the major anti-malware software developers.

For a review and list of online malware scanners please read “Free Online Spyware/Virus Scanners – Multiply Your Protection”, on this site.

References: Trend Micro

While it has been established how Gpcode infects the victim’s machine with the Trojan, none-the-less, the following precautions are critical to the security of your system.

Most importantly – make regular backups of critical data. If you are infected this may be your only solution

Don’t store critical data on the system partition

Don’t open unknown email attachments

Don’t run programs of unknown origin

Disable hidden filename extensions

Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched

Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use

Disable scripting features in email programs

Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised

Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer

Install a personal firewall on the computer

Install anti-virus/anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet

Ensure your anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments

2 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, internet scams, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Online Spyware/Virus Scanners, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

2 responses to “Gpcode Trojan Ransomeware Kidnapping Again!

  1. Ya no … one of the sad things about this is that your legit software often pops up a window with all kinds of scary stuff but they forget to indicate what program is telling you this…. (Then again with the sophistication of today’s malware who knows what to trust. i.e. M$ Security alert!!!!)

    A bit ago, I got nailed with one of these threatware/hostageware/extorsionware proggies and I initially honestly thought that it was legit. Scratching my head I said uhhhh nah. Nothing I am running should pop that message up.

    And spent the next 15 minutes or so figuring out: 1) what the hell was this thing and 2) how to deal with it. (1) I have been on the net for over 2 decades. What about poor jane/joe q. public who score less than 1 out of 100 on the 3773t haxxor scale?

    (1) This piece of bilge had an injected dll _and_ a rootkit….

    I am an old line Abuse person/spam fighter and recall the day when you spent 30 minutes figuring out the injection point of some klueless spammer.

    This stuff today is something else.

    JoWazzoo

  2. Pingback: Show Me the Money - I’ll Show You Your Files (Ransomeware is Back)! « Bill Mullins’ Weblog - Tech Thoughts