Thanatos Latest Cyber Extortion Scam Won’t Let You Back In Your System!
- Anas Feroz
- March 5th, 2018
The Latest Thanatos Cyber Extortion Scam , to hit computers worldwide is anything but ordinary and has raised concerns over how essential cyber security practices are.
Named after the “Greek God of Death”, Thanatos is truly a dangerous entity for your valuable files, as it initiates a data coup by locking your computer system, and asking you to pay up in Bitcoin, if you want to regain access.
It’s modus operandi is to encrypt all of the files of the infected computer and add Thanatos as a suffix extension to each file name. For example, if you have a file named “SpamNation.pdf”, infection of your system by Thanatos will convert it “SpamNation.pdf.Thantos”.
Once this happens, you’ll no longer be able to access anything on your PC. The only thing you can see is only a notepad file, which contains a note demanding “ransom” to get your data back. An email id is also provided for you to contact and get the decryption key, upon payment confirmation.
In a first, affected users are provided with the option to pay the ransom in Bitcoin Cash, a payment option not used up till now, in other similar ransomware attacks. Users can also pay via the traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but the deployment of Bitcoin Cash, is a pointer towards the acceptance of this crypto in the world of ransomware.
However, this practice is not an anomaly, as people behind these cyber extortion frauds look for ways to acquire the money from ransom through undetected channels.
Subsequently, the incorporation of Bitcoin cash is just another means of diversifying the smoke, which currently exists around the payment channels in use by these online con artists.
Cryptocurrencies provide the perfect way for hackers to make money as these digital currencies remain largely unregulated and highly untraceable, making it incredibly difficult for governmental agencies and cybersecurity authorities to identify where the currency actually lands up at the end of a transaction.
Thanatos isn’t your regular ransomware, as it is based on a very messy encryption standard that generates different keys for each computer infected without saving anyone of them. And, without a saved key to decrypt the system, the affected user stands the risk of remaining devoid of his/her data despite making the payment.
If you do get affected by Thanatos, we strongly suggest that you refrain from making a payment, as there is no guarantee that the hackers will provide you with the unlocking credentials and keys once they get the money.
The best way out of this is, as suggested by many online privacy and cybersecurity experts, is to deploy hard power or brute force computing to generate the encryption keys on your own, but this method will only work if there is a magic header accompanying all the common files.
In most occurrences, users won’t get their data back, if affected by Thanatos and that’s exactly why we propagate safer, more active privacy protection and online security practices to keep you safe from such data coups. Among these include backing up your data, not clicking on suspicious links, keeping your OS in line with regular updates, not keeping easy passwords, or the same passwords across diverse online accounts, and using a credible VPN for online activities.
These practices have been reiterated thousands of times, but their value remains unmatched in protecting you and your sensitive data. Even if you are not aware of Thanatos or other ransomware, the hackers will find it difficult to break into your system very easily.