Corrupt advertisements seem to be to blame for the massive rise in ransomware attacks against Microsoft’s video calling software, Skype. Users have received a warning to update their security following the discovery of this situation and caution has been urged when downloading any type of software.
It seems as though Windows devices are the primary target of the scheme, with advertisements that are downloading and installing malware on the person’s device. This leaves them at risk for hijacking and of their information becomes threatened.
The news was first found to be floating on a thread in Reddit, where many users of the popular Skype software began reporting their complaints. Apparently, advertisements targeted Adobe’s flash software, reporting that it needed to be updated. This has proved to be a very profitable tactic for the cyber-criminals who came up with the plan. Since Adobe flash is known to need constant updates, it’s a tactic that seems more real than any other does.
The download and install appears to be the Locky ransomware, which has been a threat to those online for quite some time. The ransomware completely blocks users from any information on their entire device and encrypts all their files. The information is only unlocked after the ransom is paid in Bitcoin amounts.
The mobile app for Skype is thoroughly supported by advertisements, which is the main reason most users trusted the download in the first place. Unfortunately, it was not the only Skype app to be targeted, as desktop Skype apps were also compromised.
Afterwards, all users risk their information every time they enter the service with their logon details. Microsoft has since urged extreme caution, stating, “We’re aware of a social engineering technique that could be used to direct some customers to a malicious website. We continue to encourage customers to exercise caution when opening unsolicited attachments and links from both known and unknown sources and install and regularly update anti-virus software.”
Ransomware has continued to be a specialty of hackers and other cyber-criminals because they continue to have a great deal of success with it. It is a tactic that has given them access to more than half of all businesses in Britain within the past year alone.
These hackers use a ruse of government entity or law enforcement to scare users into paying whatever is asked of them. The hackers often use the warning that the users are under suspicion of criminal activity.