CryptoLocker ransomware gains an increasing hold

In a worrying trend the very dangerous ransomware CryptoLocker is according to security experts rapidly gaining a hold on an increasing number of user’s PCs and the data those PCs contain.

Cryptolocker

Dell’s SecureWorks Research Team reports increasing prevalence of this particularly malignant malware which hides and gradually encrypts user’s data before demanding payment to decrypt the data. The program is particularly insidious in its operation as it targets files that are most likely to be important to users such as photographs and document files for example. The encryption is also likely to be almost impossible to break as the developers have followed best practice techniques including the use of Micosoft’s extremely secure CryptoAPI.

By employing sinkhole server techniques Dell SecureWorks were able to estimate that in the middle of December this year between 200,000 and 250,000 PCs were infected. The majority of infected PCs are located in the USA and UK with 23.8 percent of infected computers in the USA.

Dell SecureWorks produced the following table showing the top ten countries based on the percentage of infected machines.

CryptoLocker graph

The percentage of new infections is also particularly worrying for US PC users with the USA accounting for an incredibly high 70.2 percent of new infections and the UK in second place at only 5.5 percent.

The BBC reports further on this story here and very extensive details surrounding CryptoLocker and how it operates are available from Dell SecureWorks here.