The cyber criminal community is quite active is developing nasty ransomware to infect unsuspecting users and demand a large amount of money in return. But who could expect a 14-year-old to develop a ransomware malware on his own?

For the first time, Japan has come under the limelight for having a 14-year-old third-year junior high school student created a ransomware to hack users’ systems for a sum of money. The police arrested him while on a cyber patrol on the same day the ransomware was created.

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The ransomware

The 14-year-old created the ransomware on his own, the report said and did so by exploiting certain encryption programs. Like every other ransomware, the infection allowed the teenager to restrict access to users’ files and demand a certain amount in digital currency if the users wanted to regain access.

The ransomware was launched on a foreign website from where the kid tricked people into downloading the virus through the use of social media. However, as of now, there are no reports of any damage caused by the ransomware.

Why did he do it?

According to the police, the teenager said that the reason he created the ransomware was to become famous. He also stated the virus had been downloaded more than a hundred times, although this is in contrast to the aforementioned report which says no victims had been identified.

The boy used Twitter to suggest that he was up to something. Nevertheless, once the police identified the teenager, his computer was instantly confiscated.

The rise of ransomware

Reports say that the ransomware was created and launched in April right after the WannyCry incident.

As most of you may already know, the WannaCry incident has been the most vicious malware attack to date affecting more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. This included the British Health system – the NHS – which was utterly disrupted due to the attack.

Since the incident, reports, and news regarding new types of ransomware have been taking the internet by storm. It has almost become an epidemic on a massive scale where cyber criminals are popping up every day with ever more sophisticated malware that is becoming harder to contain.

Also, the ransomware epidemic is being fueled by the ubiquity of digital currency such as Bitcoins which makes it easier for criminals to receive payments without being tracked.

How to protect yourself?

Given the vulnerability of systems to such malware attacks, it is essential that users take extra precautions to protect themselves. One of the ways is to regularly keep a backup of your files so that you do not have to give in to the demands of these attackers.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Hung Chung Chih

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Jahanzaib Hassan