July 23rd, 2020 by Ethos Technologies
The AIDS Information Trojan attack did have one hallmark of success: it took advantage of a wider environmental opportunity, namely the widespread concern around HIV/AIDS at that time. Since then, cyber criminals have continued to take advantage of developments in both technology and wider society to evolve and finesse their ransomware attacks, including:
- The rise of free email services like AOL and Yahoo: These services enabled hackers to create unlimited, untraceable email addresses for the first time, leading to the start of large scale spam campaigns used to spread ransomware.
- The move from dial-up to ADSL connections , which enabled more people to use the internet, and for longer periods of time, gave the crooks a larger target area for their attacks.
- Geo-targeting abilities allowed cyber criminals to focus their attacks on a particular country/ region. Geo-targeting increased success rates by enabling attackers to exploit local hot topics in email attacks while also customizing the language for their audience.
- Prepaid credit cards gave the crooks an accessible, anonymous way for people to pay ransom demands.
- The availability of cryptocurrencies , particularly Bitcoin, gave criminals another reliable and accessible way to get payments.
As a result of exploiting these (and other) opportunities, by 2010 cyber criminals had solved the three main challenges facing ransomware, enabling it to become a viable commercial business.
Posted in: Cyber Security