Menu
At $175, this ransomware service is a boon to cybercriminals

At $175, this ransomware service is a boon to cybercriminals

A Russian-speaking user has been advertising the ransomware-as-a-service, according to Recorded Future

Cybercriminals have another easy-to-use ransomware kit to add to their arsenals, thanks to a new variant called Karmen that hackers can buy on the black market for US$175 (about $230).

A Russian-speaking user called DevBitox has been advertising the ransomware in underground forums, security firm Recorded Future said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Karmen is what experts call ransomware-as-a-service -- a particularly worrisome trend. Amateur hackers with little technical know-how can buy access to them, and in return, they’ll receive a whole suite of web-based tools to develop their own ransomware attacks.

In Karmen's case, it offers an easy-to-use dashboard interface. Buyers can modify the ransomware, view what machines they've infected, and see how much they’ve earned.

To spread ransomware, hackers will often rely on spam emails with an attachment or a link to a website that contains malicious coding. Once it infects a computer, the ransomware will then encrypt the files hosted inside. To release the files, victims will have to pay up, usually in bitcoin.

DevBitox, one of the developers behind Karmen, has posted messages in various forums saying that Russian and English language versions of the ransomware-as-a-service are available.

karmen ransomware variant 5 Recorded Future

The dashboard to the Karmen ransomware-as-a-service.

So far, the hacker has sold 20 copies of Karmen, according to Recorded Future, which noted that the first infections of the ransomware variant occurred as early as December in Germany and the U.S.

The $175 fee is a one-time upfront payment, said Andrei Barysevich, a director at Recorded Future. “This lowers the barrier for other criminals to carry out ransomware attacks, and allows buyers to retain 100 percent of payments from their infected victims,” he added.

However, victims hit with the Karmen ransomware have recourse. That’s because the malicious coding is derived from Hidden Tear, an open source ransomware project.

Cybercriminals have been using Hidden Tear to build their own ransomware variants. However, security experts have been responding with free decryption tools designed to release computers of the infections.

Michael Gillespie, a security researcher, has developed his own decryption key generator that can address ransomware built from Hidden Tear. He advises that victims contact him for help. Gillespie has also developed a site that can diagnose what kind of ransomware has infected a computer, and offers advice on how it might be fixed.

No More Ransom is another site with free tools that can decrypt certain ransomware infections.

Security experts also recommend that businesses make routine backups of their important systems, in the event of a ransomware attack.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

A snapshot of the Kiwi partners set to shine at the Reseller News Awards

A snapshot of the Kiwi partners set to shine at the Reseller News Awards

With the 2017 Reseller News ICT Industry Awards only weeks away, Reseller News profiles the power line-up of partners set to dominate the biggest night on the channel calendar. ​Ranging from the enterprise, down through the mid-market and small business sectors into the heart of the start-up scene, the end result is the most diverse and wide-ranging partner line-up in the history of the Awards, playing host to the leading innovators of the past 12 months.​

A snapshot of the Kiwi partners set to shine at the Reseller News Awards
Channel celebrates as HP marks 50 years in NZ

Channel celebrates as HP marks 50 years in NZ

HP marked 50 years in New Zealand at an event in the vendor's Auckland's headquarters last night, with a host of key channel figures coming along to celebrate. Photos by HP.

Channel celebrates as HP marks 50 years in NZ
Show Comments