A new technique described as “Doxware” is where sensitive documents are published in a “wikileaks” type fashion publicly until payment is rendered. While this would be targeted for highly specific companies or individuals, it is designed to bring in greater ransom payments.
The latest form of malware holds computers hostage and compromises the privacy of conversations, photos, and sensitive files. In recent years, ransomware has become a growing concern for companies in every industry. Between April 2015 and March 2016, the number of individuals affected by ransomware surpassed 2 million — a 17.7% increase from the previous year.
Many companies have figured out that they can avoid paying these ransoms by wiping a system clean, restoring it with backup drives, and going about business without being held hostage. But as a result of increased ransom-avoidance, cybercriminals have created an even more insidious threat. Imagine malware that combines ransomware with a personal data leak: this is what the latest threat, doxware, looks like.
With doxware, hackers hold computers hostage until the victim pays the ransom, similar to ransomware. But doxware takes the attack further by compromising the privacy of conversations, photos, and sensitive files, and threatening to release them publicly unless the ransom is paid. Because of the threatened release, it’s harder to avoid paying the ransom, making the attack more profitable for hackers.
Doxware requires strategic, end-to-end planning, which means hackers will target their victims more deliberately. Therefore, malicious players will be more intentional in whom they attack, giving corporate leaders, politicians, celebrities, and other public figures cause for concern.