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Now, a virus that blackmails!

March 16, 2006 18:21 IST

Call it Internet imitating real life. A hostage situation is now arising in the cyberspace in the form of a Trojan that holds up your files for a cool $300. You pay up the money to get your files back!

A Trojan is a programme that appears to be legitimate, but in fact does something malicious.

Experts at MicroWorld Technologies inform that the Trojan named 'Win32.Zippo.10' or 'cryzip' is a sophisticated variety that encrypts user files into Zip format. Once your data is locked up, you are left with a ransom note kept in a file 'AUTO_ZIP_REPORT.txt'

Written in poor English fraught with typos, the threat message goes like this, "INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO GET YUOR FILES BACK READ CAREFULLY. Your computer catched our software while browsing illigal porn pages, all your documents, text files, databases was archived with long enought password."

It warns against any attempt at cracking the password of the encrypted data. To get the files back you can pay the ransom of $300 to an E-Gold account owned by the Trojan creator. A random E-Gold account number gets displayed at the top of the mail from a smartly

embedded list. The culprit operates with numerous accounts that make it hard to pin him down.

"This online extortion is direct and in the face. The ploy can be quite effective in a targetted attack on sensitive and confidential files of a corporate house or an individual. To safeguard the information integrity, one would just like to get done with it by paying the sum," says Govind Rammurthy, CEO, MicroWorld Technologies.

Originated in May 2005, this brand of Trojan is generically referred to as 'ransomware'.

"The degree of proliferation is low at this point of time, primarily due to the targeted nature of attack. These guys deliberately keep a low profile to escape wide-spread attention as they mean business," points out Rammurthy.

MicroWorld (www.mwti.net) are the developers of the world's first real-time antivirus and content security software eScan for desktops and servers.

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