A new variant of ransomware called HC7 Planetary is doing rounds in the digital world and is said to be first of its kind to accept Ethereum payments. Cybersecurity Insiders has learned that the developers of this ransomware are said to be accepting payments not only in Bitcoins but in Monero and Ethereum coins.
In general, almost all ransomware developers/spreaders accept Bitcoins as ransom payments. And only a few accept Monero as it happens to be the next big cryptocurrency in demand.
But as Ethereum is currently selling for over $1200 per coin and is said to rise in price and popularity in next few months, cybercriminals are seen accepting this payment to stockpile the coins for profit-trading in future.
While cryptocurrency like Monero’s acceptance makes sense as it offers greater privacy as it is less traceable, Ethereum’s smart contract feature makes ransomware payment processing more competent.
Usually, there is no guaranty that ransomware developers or the said malware spreading hackers will offer a decryption key to the encrypted database as soon as they receive ransom payment.
But Ethereum smart contracts offer such facility where the cybercriminal could make an honest ransomware contract where the victim guarantees payment if the developer actually decrypts the victim’s files.
Coming to the HC7 Planetary Ransomware, a source from Bleeping Computer reports that the said malware usually infects a single machine or a bunch on machines in a network and encrypts all the files on the computer/s. And hackers are said to be demanding $700 per machine or $5,000 for all of the machines on the network to free up the database.