What is Popcorn Time? Ransomware

Worryingly 93% of phishing emails now contain encryption ransomware.

A new piece of encryption malware has been unleashed and fronts victims with a horrible decision: your files or your friends? This nasty incentive offers users a free decryption key to get their data back under one condition – they successfully infect two others and force them to pay the ransom.

The victim (infected user) is provided with two options:

1) The easy way which demands the payment of 1 Bitcoin (about £670)
2) The malicious way of sending referral links to other users

If the user opts for the malicious way and two of their referrals pay the ransom they will be given a free decryption key as per the instructions displayed by the ransomware.

Where did the name Popcorn Time come from?

The malware name comes from the free Netflix alternative called Popcorn Time – however do note it is unrelated to this.

The malware pinched the name from the torrenting site Popcorn Time which was closed down. Subsequently Popcorn Time variants have appeared under several domain names.

With ransomware attacks continuously increasing we can only expect these attacks to happen more frequently than ever before which highlights the importance and requirement for the highest level of IT security.

What precautions to take?

There are some precautions you can take to prevent losing your precious files:

  • Regularly back up your data on an external hard drive and/or cloud storage. If using an external hard drive once you have backed up your data do not keep it plugged into the computer as ransomware attacks would also encrypt this
  • Be cautious of phishing campaigns which are commonly caused by users clicking on malicious links within emails
  • Only download software from trustworthy sources. Stay away from download pages that contain over-the-top pop-ups or advertising

Although these precautions are good to put in place, unfortunately if you react to them too late (once you have become a victim) then sadly you’re left with no option but to obey the ransomware request or have your data deleted forever.

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