Breaking Bad RansomwareIn a recent post we talked about profitable hacking and how hackers make their money. Extortion is one way and it’s not the first time we hear about large banks giving up huge sums to keep the bad guys from distributing customer data or causing other damage.

Ransomware is a new form of this same tactic and Breaking Bad is its latest example. With Ransomware, malicious code locks up data and the hacker will only decrypt it once the victim has paid up. Breaking Bad, of course named after the popular TV series, has so far been largely at work in Australia where it demands AU$1,000 from those who fall prey. Like all malware, it is sure to spread and mutate.

Breaking Bad Ransomware is aimed at consumers, as it locks down photos, documents and video. In the case of photos, many of these are precious to the victim, and because they are digital, there are rarely any hard copies available and the price to pay, while steep, may be worth it for end users to salvage their data.

Here is what the ransom note looks like:

Breaking Bad Ransomware

Breaking Bad not the first

Breaking Bad is sure not an original idea. Earlier iterations of the same idea include last year’s Cryptolocker, which not only encrypts data, but can also steal and use credit card numbers. Cryptolocker takes over computers, encrypts the data, and only releases it once around $650US is paid via Bitcoin. It ended up striking some quarter of a million machines.

Don’t let the bad guys win

The threat from these types of exploits is rising, and the threat depends largely on who you are.

On the IT side, there are two tiers. Computer pros with less experience are afraid these malicious applications will cost their organization’s millions from extortion or pure theft, but don’t really know what to do. True security pros know enough to block or mitigate the attacks, but consumers are often ill-prepared.

Regardless of your skill level, you don’t have to fall victim to ransomware and the answer is a combination of great security practices and powerful security software. Make sure all your software, including anti-virus, is patched and up to data. Make sure your AV protection is frequently updated to spot new threats and doesn’t rely on just one AV engine.

If you want to protect your business, you will need a security tool such as GFI MailEssentials. With such a tool you can rest assured that you have maximum protection as it comes equipped with up to five leading AV engines. BitDefender and VIPRE AV come as standard but you can beef up your protection further by adding on Kaspersky, McAfee and Avira.

GFI MailEssentials is also capable of monitoring all the content coming into your emails server and block malicious attachments before they reach your users. It stops 99.9% of the spam that carries malware such as Breaking Bad.

Other tips:

  • Train your workforce not to open attachments from untrusted sources.
  • Back up your data so that if is encrypted you have a spare copy.
  • Block users from downloading .EXE files
  • Make sure your anti-malware is up to date, and that is employs multiple scanning engines.

Would you like to learn more about how GFI MailEssentials can not only protect you from threats such as the Breaking Bad Ransomware but also make your life as an IT Pro that much easier? Download a 30-day free trial now.