The computer of a Nascar race team was hacked by unknown culprits who locked up all the files and demanded ransom in bitcoin in order to unlock the system!
One of the Nascar race teams witnessed their chief’s computer getting hacked with a ransomware malware locking up his files and demanding ransom in Bitcoin.
Dave Winston, chief for the Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing (Cslfr95) crew was shocked to see his computer when it started displaying a message window that “files in this systems have been encrypted and require ransom payment for decryption or unlocking.”
When contacted FBI, the team was told to pay the ransom and that’s what they did. Lucky for them they got the decryption key from the hackers allowing the team to unlock their system including the targeted files. But this is not the first time when FBI has simply told victims to pay ransom in such cases, in fact, last year FBI Joseph Bonavolonta said that “The ransomware is that good,” and that “to be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.”
“It was huge relief when we got the key. … Pretty much everything came back,” Winston told CNBC.
However, paying ransom is not the solution in every case as in November 2015, cyber criminals conducted a series of non-stop DDoS attacks on encrypted email service provider ProtonMail. The firm was forced to pay $6000 as ransom yet it didn’t stop attackers from DDoSing and the rampage continued for days before it was stopped without leaving any traces.
For expert comment, we contacted IT security researcher Andra Zaharia from Heimdal Security who stated that:
“Ransomware is indiscriminate when it comes to its victims, both in terms of social and financial background and geography.
Ransomware creators know exactly what emotions and reactions to trigger in their victims. Fear and confusion are the responses they first look for. Adding the pressure of time to the mix will only enhance their impact, which is exactly what happened in the case of the NASCAR team’s chief. It may have been circumstantial or it could’ve been a calculated infection – we couldn’t tell without analysing the specifics – but the result is the same: data loss, loss of access and a state of panic.Even though cyber security specialists constantly warn Internet users around the world that ransomware is a very real and tangible threat, many choose to ignore this warning and continue without taking adequate measures. We just have to say this again: there is no better protection from ransomware than a data backup (in multiple places and up to date)!
It doesn’t mean that you should rely exclusively on data backups for your information’s safety, but it should be a priority on your to-do list. Being realistic about your online presence means acknowledging that malware will eventually target your data. The important thing is what you do to prevent it from reaching and affecting your confidential data.”
It is unclear which kind of ransomware locked up crew’s computer but mostly crypto-malware is the favourite tool for cyber criminals as in recent years several of ransomware targets including Police departments (1: Midlothian Village, Illinois, Police Department) (2: Massachusetts Police Department) in the United States and even job hunters were targeted used crypto-malware.
If you want to save yourself from ransomware make sure to backup all your files, which most users don’t, so either back up or pay the ransom, it’s as simple as that or try these tools to protect your cyber-infrastructure.