Job Aspirants becoming Ransomware victims

Job Aspirants are now falling prey to cyber criminals and this was proved in a recent survey conducted by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. As per the survey, job aspirants contacting Human Resource Departments are being targeted by ransomware spreading criminals in the disguise of a job application.

What’s more astonishing is that cybercriminals behind the attacks are demanding around 3 BTC to restore the data on the ransomware infected victim’s computer.

NOTE-One Bitcoin is approximate $802 ( as per today’s rate). Means, each cyber criminal will make a profit of $2500 with such hack each.

As per the study, the process of spreading ransomware among job aspirants is taking place in the following way- As soon as an applicant applies for a job by filling an online application, they are asked to email docs for additional verification. Here’s where the details reach to the hackers who start the hacking procedure.

The malware spreading hackers email two attachments to their victims. One contains a malignant PDF file which comes in a disguise of a cover letter. Then the second is an excel file containing infected macros.

Technically, both the files are interlinked and so when one is opened by the victim, the other automatically starts functioning in the background.

Then the ransomware launches itself and locks the entire files on the PC and displays a messaging which says “your entire hard disk is infected with a military grade encryption and the only way to restore the data is to use a special key” which is accessible when the cyber criminals are paid the said ransom.

Security Experts from the California-based malware protection firm ‘Checkpoint’ say that the said ransomware is a variant belonging to Petya ransomware, developed by a person called Janus.

Usually, such malware is sold as ransomware-as-a-service products and so there is a high probability that more than one hacker might be using this malicious software.

As per the study made by CheckPoint more than 1700 job aspirants have fallen prey to the said Petya variant ransomware. And more than 800 of them paid the said ransom in order to restore the data on their PCs.

And the only way to escape this cyber agony is to not open any Macros based Microsoft office documents and only click the emails which are sent by trusted peers. Beware of phishing scams and keep your spam filters always updated.

Additionally, experts always recommend PC users to keep their files stored on cloud platforms. This will help users to gain access to critical files, even if their PC gets locked by the ransomware.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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