Hackers holding more people to ransom

Hackers can demand thousands of kroner for unlocking computers

More advanced technology at hackers’ disposal means that an increasing number of people in Denmark are having their computers ‘kidnapped’ and held to ransom.

The ‘kidnapping’ occurs during a so-called ‘ransomware attack’ when the computer is infected with a virus that locks the machine. The unfortunate victims then receive a message demanding them to pay up in order to recover the computer data.

“Within the last year we have seen a technological shift in which the methods are becoming more advanced,” Jacob Herbst, the technical head at IT security firm Dubex, told Metroxpress newspaper.

“It used to be easy to breach an encryption, but hackers are becoming better and that changes the threat level.”

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Million-kroner business
Typically, the hackers will demand somewhere between a couple of hundred kroner to several thousand kroner to unlock the computers again.

”It’s a very well-organised money machine,” said Shehzad Ahmad, the head of IT security organisation DKCERT.

“The masterminds are rich and the problem has escalated. They make millions.”

The IT security experts expect that the ‘ransomware attack’ issue will continue and become more advanced in the next few years.

‘Ransomware attacks’ are initiated when spam mail is opened, but it can also affect computers if infected software is downloaded. The risk can be reduced by keeping anti-virus programs updated.