THREAT REMOVAL

p12_0000Cyber crime is a very effective way of making a lot of money fast, because it involves less risk and is more rewarding. We live in an age where everything is situating online. We have a new online currency, the bitcoin, we have encrypted methods of online payment, and we’ve got certificate and signature systems. And now when the smartphones have become wallets, we face a new era of funds transfers. This is all nice and dandy. However, we need to focus on the downside of that – cybercrime. It develops along with the technology and has become very widespread.

Cybercrime has cost us around 400 billion dollars so far, and this is more than some countries are worth. In this article, we reveal to you what are the most profitable schemes for making money online illegally.

Earning a Living From Cybercrime

When it comes to cybercrime, people have invested a lot of money in the last couple of years to protect themselves and their businesses. However, if a cybercriminals finds an opportunity they immediately may take advantage of it and cause users a lot of headaches. There are many strategies that the cybercriminals employ, all of them extremely useful. Cybercriminals choose methods of distribution depending on what the scam or the infection is.

Ransomware
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This is the most profitable way of utilizing malware to extort users out of their money. We have divided how a typical ransomware infection works in several steps:

Step 1: Infecting the user. This can happen most likely via spam attacks, phishing attacks, social media malvertising, drive-by downloads and other methods.

Step 2: Scanning the infected computer for relevant files and documents and encrypting them by using a secure encryption algorithm. Most ransomware viruses use the AES or RSA encryption algorithms. The AES is a bit weaker, and its most debilitated bit encryption can be decrypted in a suitable time for the victim. The RSA algorithm, used by the Cryptowall variants, is the one of the strongest encryption algorithms that may take from days to years to decrypt if your computer survives until then. So if this algorithm encrypts your files, the chances of you decrypting them are very slim. Several security researchers, however, have managed to find new ways of decrypting RSA algorithm by using a unique technique – for more information on that, check this report.

Step 3: Leaving a ransom note. The final step that closes a ransomware infection is the deletion of its source files that infected the PC initially, breaking any active connection and leaving a ransom note. Usually most ransomware viruses leave notes, saying something, like:

→Your files have been encrypted with a strong encryption. For more information on how to decrypt your records, contact this email: hackeremail@emailprovider.com

But the new ransomware viruses feature applications with active timers that give a deadline to the victim. They claim that after that time expires either the fee will double or the unlock keys corresponding to the encrypted files will be deleted. This plus the instructions to use Tor-based networks are the perfect mix for untraceable online extortion.

Even though ransomware attacks are very devastating, there are countermeasures and ways to protect your data from such attacks.

Pay-Per-Click Fraud

pop-ups-adware-adcloudThese type of schemes vary, but one thing in common in them is the fact that the web site provided may get paid based on how many clicks have been generated by clicking on an advertised content. There are a lot of suspicious networks that develop a network of websites and adware unwanted applications to boost either their traffic or the traffic of their clients for money as well. Bundling mostly distributes them. Bundling is the combination of these apps with the installers of free software that is provided by third-party sites. It is done as a part of a marketing campaign to generate profit to the third-party site.

Here is how a pay-per-click fraud works:

Step 1: You download and install your favorite media player or any other freeware from a third-party site, instead of its official site. It may or may not feature an installation step, containing opt-in boxes or ‘I Agree’ buttons. Such may say ‘Include this program as a free extra’ or something in similarity.

Step 2: The adware program may employ cookies. Cookies are small text files that collect different information from the user, regarding his browsing habits, online clicks and so on. This is called behavioral advertising and aims to target the user with advertisements based on his interests.

Step 3: Advertising. Yes, the most annoying part of it all. It features different ads, varying from unnoticeable but effective highlighted website words that lead to fake search engines or third-party sites to the most intrusive redirects and pop-ups you could ever imagine.

Sometimes Pay-per-click fraud may also be indirectly dangerous to the user’s PC. That is due to the fact that it is usually connected with third-party sites that sometimes may contain malware. They either download it on the user PC or directly inject it, using a drive-by download strategy. More to that, such programs may hide behind shady privacy policies that give them permission to collect any information from users and share them for business purposes. This is why the best countermeasure against those adverts is a reliable anti-malware program that regularly updates its definition and features an active shield against intrusions.

Fake Online Protection Software

Fake-AlertThis type of software usually features rogue antivirus applications that are often being bundled or downloaded from redirects. There are some cases of users reporting to be redirected to webpages that display fake virus alerts or fake BSOD messages prompting to download the software.

Rogue antivirus programs usually may do nothing at all when it comes to detecting and removing viruses. On the contrary, they slow the computer down, may display advertisements and redirects. But the main purpose of these apps is to get the user to buy their full versions. This is usually done by taking out a computer scan and displaying false threat detections that may only be removed by purchasing the full version. More so, they may modify different user settings that prevent them from being deleted in a typical way.

As a countermeasure against those applications, it is advisable that the users inform themselves regularly on the latest threats of this type or download an actual advanced anti-malware program that will remove any traces of such unwanted spamming software.

Stealing Login Information

p17_0000Credentials theft and distribution for profits has been raising concerns lately, and many social networks have reported that they detect hacked accounts very regularly. Information theft may be done via two main ways:

  • Malware on the computer that automatically collects it.
  • Fake website or toolbar that prompts phishing logins or cookies that collect any user entered information.
  • Phishing emails that imitate a real website or service, aiming to get the user to trust them and input his details in a fake phishing website, resembling the actual one.

It is crucial to pay attention when it comes to your login information. It is highly recommended to not login by using a third-party service of unknown origin or a custom program since it can steal your credentials. Also, always look for the ”HTTPs://” indicator at the beginning of the address of the page you are logging into. This is a clear indication that the web page uses an encryption and is protected. Make sure you also check out the web link’s legitimacy.

Social Media Spam

Unfriend WatchThese type of spam attacks drain a lot of funds from social network users. Security companies report that cyber-criminals use bots that distribute automatic spam messages that usually contain malicious links that may lead to various places. One of those scams is a Facebook spam, featuring small humanoids. Some of those scams may request the user to give them post permission, and this is another way of spamming users. And what is worse is that most users tend to open what their online friends post since they believe it is ok to see.

A good way to protect yourself from social media spam is to observe for automatic messages and always check the weblinks for legitimacy, using sites such as www.virustotal.com, for example. Another key symptom of such web sites is connected with observing what a redirect site may require from you. In case it needs special permissions, prompts the download of a plugin or any other software or requires a login with your credentials, you should not trust such site and should immediately leave it and report it.

Banking Malware

p16_0000There has been a recent boom in banking malware since it is the new form of bank robbery. There have been cases of hackers stealing up to 1 billion dollars using malware. Similar to ransomware, it includes Trojan Horses. However, these types of Trojans are more sophisticated, and such attacks are way more organized than your regular infections. The aim remains the same, however – obtaining the user’s financial information.

Many of those attacks have evolved to smartphones since the new technology allows for online banking from your pocket. More, so people can pay with smartphones nowadays, and all the attackers need to have control of their funds is the victim’s username and password.

Authorities continue to improve the protection by investing millions in online security. They employ strongly encrypted certificates, firewalls, simultaneous login prevention protocols and other traps to catch any theft attempts. But even though it is sophisticated and risky, this type of money theft is very rewarding.

Automated SMS Scams

One unique method which attackers use is SMS based scamming. What they do is they may collect your cell phone number via a free app on your smartphone or an online site that prompts your to enter it. Once this is done, cyber criminals may register you for a rather expensive SMS service. There have been cases where cyber criminals utilize smartphone malware to send messages to such service which may charge the user funds. Some cybercrooks charge multiple users at once with little resources but for longer periods of time. Huge profits may be generated continuously using such attacks on a massive scale for short periods of time.

A good way to protect yourself is to not share your numbers and always observe what permissions free aps require from you. Also, it is a good strategy to download an anti-malware program on your smartphone as well.

Product Selling Schemes

These types of websites are very high both in numbers and ways of working. The most typical situation is when a cyber-criminal sets up a website that features real or non-existent products and uses adware or malware campaigns on a massive scale. This is done with the purpose to drive traffic to his website This type of scheme is very closely related to the Pay-per-click systems since they both utilize similar software to reach their goals.

As to the selling websites, the cybercriminals used to implement a strategy, going by the name of drop-shipping. This is a very smart strategy since the product seller has no actual involvement in the product he or she is selling. For example, you want to buy a smartphone. After you have sent the cyber-scammer funds, he may use a lesser amount of those to buy the same product from a shopping site, such as eBay, for example and send it directly to the address you provided. After that, the cyber-crook just takes the remaining funds for him, closing out the deal.

The moral lesson from this type of schemes is always to perform your research before making online transfers to third party sites.

Conclusion

Along with technology in our lives, crime has dramatically changed as well. Cybercriminals utilize a different type of malware according to their end means. This also means that there are different cybercriminals, based on the software they provide. According to Sophos’s security report, cyber criminals and their methods are continuing to evolve, and we should focus on protection against them. And I am not talking about security in means of how much you are going to invest. No, it is more about the user and his browsing habits. Because if a user is cautious and keeps up to date with the latest threats and means of protection. And you should always keep anti-malware protection close-by because it will increase your chances of detecting future threats significantly.

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Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

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Berta Bilbao

Berta is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space. Her fascination with IT security began a few years ago when a malware locked her out of her own computer.

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Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.


OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove

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Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall and related software from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .

Ransomware infections and aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to :

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to . If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to . Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as . If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for :


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .

Ransomware infections and aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


FAQ

What is ransomware and how does it work?

is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files.

Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithm how to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.

How does ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways. Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, containing virus attachment.

This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users.

After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.

Another way, you may become a victim of is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.

How to open . files?

You can't. At this point the . files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?

Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your . files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.

How Do I restore "." files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore . files.

These methods are in no way 100% guarantee that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.

How do I get rid of ransomware virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important . files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.

What to Do If nothing works?

There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:

  • Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
  • Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.
  • Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.
  • Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.
  • You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.

More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.

3 Comments

  1. AvatarDenisS

    Nice but i am lazy to try it out.

    Reply
    1. AvatarVencislav Krustev

      Well, it is not recommended anyways, the feds will be on to you in no time, plus we just inform on the cyber-crimininal schemes there are to raise awareness how to protect yourself :)

      Reply
      1. AvatarDenisS

        We have no feds here in spain, the law is kinder sleepy here and love to do nothing. Here is only watched the cred. card security and similar stuff, not shit like phone or minor marketing scams. I dont want to protect myself, i rather steal from Google directly wherever i can and if they say something try to catch me alive, i have my reasons to take money from them to pay for something i will not say here as it is real life stuff.

        Reply

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