New Ransomware Warning: Popcorn Time

New Popcorn Time Ransomware Demands Cash Unless Infected User Agrees to Spread the Virus to Friends

We’re Urging Local Individuals and Businesses to be Informed about Latest and Most Sophisticated Cyber Scam

Popcorn Virus

The need for cyber security has been on the radar and in the playbooks of serious companies and their executives for some years. However, recent advancements in a particularly virulent strain of software called “ransomware” has made even forward-thinking CIOs sit up and take notice. Ransomware attacks are hitting individuals, institutions and businesses hard, right here in Santa Cruz. Ransomware attacks are defined by their demand for incredibly high ransom fees simply to restore access to information and reinstate productivity.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the newest form of diabolical ransomware floating around the internet is through a software called Popcorn Time. Popcorn Time is deviously named after but unrelated to the bittorent piracy app and quickly infects a user’s machine and demands a 1 bitcoin ransom (over $700), to reinstate access to data held hostage. However, the particularly daunting aspect of this strain of ransomware is the alternative escape option it offers. If an infected user can’t afford the bitcoin payment, they can have their files released for free on one condition: send the malicious link to two friends, have them download the infection and pay the ransom.

Reminiscent of a B-rated Hollywood horror film or a bad pyramid scheme, this new method of spreading the virus and seeking out more victims is incredibly hard to track, prevent and slow down. The frightening new software was discovered by cyber-security researchers, MalwareHunterTeam, and the malicious program is still in development. However, researchers claim that if left to develop fully, the innovative method of distribution could make Popcorn Time one of the most dangerous and wide-spread cyber-scams on the internet.

So what can individuals do to stay protected? And what does one do when they find themselves faced with paying a ransom or selling out their friends? The cyber-security experts at Cooper Technologies, Inc. want to make sure Santa Cruz individuals and businesses are well-versed in how to proactively keep data protected before nasty ransomware like this takes hold of data. The most important point of defense is securing reliable back-up solutions where an emergency copy of all important data is stored and protected on a separate machine or in the cloud.

Through proactive and strategic planning and preparedness, the Cooper Technologies, Inc. team is committed to ensuring that their client base is equipped with comprehensive back-ups in case of attack or disaster. Because of this foresight, Cooper Technologies, Inc. clients wouldn’t have to pay the ransom to retrieve their files in the case of an attack, nor would they have to consider selling out colleagues or friends to avoid the bitcoin payment.

Even with backups in place, damage-control and restoration time to get business back on track can be costly. Though the Cooper Technologies, Inc. team is equipped to help clients recover from disaster quickly, there is a cost associated for the man hours needed to restore data. Not to mention the lost productivity and wage expenses that businesses suffer because their employees are unable to work for a certain amount of time. Furthermore, ransomware attacks like Popcorn Time are getting increasingly sophisticated and malicious and can manifest in ever-evolving ways. Therefore, it’s critical to have a variety of cyber-security measures in place to ensure protection.

Investing in the correct preparation and protection mechanisms may seem time consuming or costly, however, the cost pales in comparison to the potential damages that a ransomware attack can cause. As the prevalence and sophistication of ransomware continues to rise, the potential cost and productivity savings of enlisting IT support is becoming increasingly evident.

If you’d like to connect your business-minded audience with more information about this nasty new strain of Ransomware, other daunting cyber-security threats and tips for staying informed and protected, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Cooper Technologies, Inc. at (831) 818-1703 or email us at info@coopertech.net.

Keeping the masses informed is the first and most important step against beating cyber criminals.

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