I learned a new word today: Ransomware.
Apparently there is a new scam going around in Japan. A file that is supposed to contain a pornographic video game is in fact a program that scans a victim’s computer, collects personal details, and then send the victim an email demanding cash. The threat is that if the victim doesn’t come up with the payment, the makers of the program will tell everyone that the victim had purchased the porn game in the first place.
This is only the latest tactic that ransomware creators have employed. Others include mining filesharing services with a virus that changes the user’s background to the FBI logo and then requests that the victim use a credit card to pay a fine – a fine that clearly does not go back to the FBI, but does give the attacker all of the victim’s credit card information.
An even simpler form of ransomware visibly infects a computer and then prompts the victim to purchase “anti-virus software” to remove it – and of course the antivirus software is bogus.
People really are so clever. I bet that if we could get people to take even a quarter of the effort they put into scamming each other and put it towards helping each other instead, we probably wouldn’t have anyone homeless or hungry.