Security researcher MalwareHunterTeam has discovered an emerging malicious software called Thanatos, which demands Bitcoin Cash cryptocurrency so that users can recover their files, as what a ransomware does. It also threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless the ransom is paid.
According to a report by Bleeping Computer, this certain infection creates an encrypted file in which the key is nowhere to be found. Francesco Muroni, a researcher, said that the keys do not actually exist. Even though the user pays the sum, the ransomware developer does not have any way to decrypt the file. Therefore, it is not advisable to pay the ransom for any reason.
Yet, it can still be decoded with the use of brute force cracking or trial and error method used by application programs to decode encrypted data such as passwords or Data Encryption Standard (DES) keys.
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Once a computer is infected, all affected file extensions will be changed into .THANATOS extension and a ransom note under a form of README.txt file will pop up whenever a user will log on. Then, Thanatos developers will demand $200 in cryptocurrency (digital currency).
As stated in the same report, you can protect yourself from ransomware in general by using good computing habits and security software.
“First and foremost, you should always have a reliable and tested backup of your data that can be restored in the case of an emergency, such as a ransomware attack.”