A new strain of ransomware, nicknamed CryptMix, is promising hacking victims that part of the money they send to unlock their blocked files will be donated to a kids’ charity.
Unlike other malware programs on the web, this one encrypts an unsuspecting person’s online files and requests for a fee to unlock them.
Without a data backup program, or decryption key, there’s absolutely no way that these files can be retrieved back apart from paying the ransomware hackers.
First discovered by Heimdal Security, this ransomware operates in a traditional way by encrypting all data found on your PC before requesting for a payoff.
However, the difference lies in details found on the ransomnote; it states that your system’s hijacker will give part of the cash as donation to a charity for children.
Further mentioning, “Many children will get presents and medical aid!”
Nevertheless, the ransomware cybercriminals have not yet said which charity they are donating to by name.
This makes their claim rather suspicious since nobody knows where the money is being donated.
Instead they are playing some sort of guilt game with contributors, adding that “we trust you are a kind and honest individual.”
The ransom’smonetary sum is high at 5 bitcoins which is equivalent to $2,200, much more than other ransomware programs which target unsuspecting individuals and ask for only a few 100 dollars.
Heimdal security specialist, Andra Zaharia, admits that despite fraudulent backstories concocted by the hackers, this ransomware is serious and can lead to massive data breach.
It doesn’t have a name and reuses large portions of an open-source malware code.
For instance, the ransomware can act as a CryptoWall 4 Variant and also feature CryptXXX components.
It even tries to congratulate the victim, claiming that extorted money is all for a noble cause.
Partly reading,“Thankyou very much! We wish you all the best! Your name will feature in the donors list and remain permanently in the charity history!” Ending with a sign off message saying, “Best regards, Charity Team.”
However, there’s a catch that the ransom fee will double up if the victim doesn’t make a donation within 24hrs. after infection.
There’s no guarantee that the ransom cash will be given to a “children charity.”
Nevertheless, there have been other similar high profile cases in the recent past, targeting business institutions and individuals where many of them have already paid cash.
One such example involves a Californian based hospital that gave hackers $17,000 to have its data back.
Much earlier during the Ebola epidemic of 2014, scammers took advantage of fake news reports about a possible cure to drive more clicks and spread malware. Likewise, after the Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared from radar, virus-laden websites emerged on the internet with fake news reports stating that the plane had been discovered.
As for CryptMix ransomware, victims are given assurance of participation in the entire process, making it more enticing to unsuspecting individuals.
Even more strangely, the ransomware hackers promise “Free tech support for solving PC problems for 3 years!” Since there’s no way of verifying these claims, some people have reached out to email addresses they post in their operations.
But still nothing has been heard from them up to now.
While it’s true that most hackers don’t have good intentions, they also won’t extort money from their victims in such conniving ways.
So chances are high that this ransomware offer is just hogwash.
As Andra Zaharia from Heimdal Security puts it, “We cannot trust cybercriminals to be kind and generous.
Real life is not like the movies.”
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