Published On: Wed, Oct 7th, 2015

Cisco Cuts Off $30 Million Ransomware Hacking Operation

Adobe Flash

The malware used vulnerabilities in Flash and Java to access users computers.

Cisco has disrupted a browser-based malware tool which is known for taking computers hostage and demanding a ransom for users to regain access to their computer.

The company said unnamed hackers used the Angler Exploit Kit to take advantage of vulnerabilities in common browser plugins, such as Flash and Java. Cisco said it believes the total revenue generated by Angler attacks across the world could vary from $30m – $60m each year with as many as 90,000 users affected each day.

Ken Munro, a security expert at Pen Test Partners, said Cisco’s investigation was “another great example of cutting off malware at the knees”.

He also said “By analysing the data around Angler and finding critical compromised servers on the internet that the exploit needs to communicate with, it can be rendered powerless.”

Through its security wing Talos Group, Cisco patched the vulnerabilities to stop the use of the exploit kit and cutting off affected machines from the command-and-control infrastructure.

Cisco said this will be a blow to the emerging hacker community where ransomware and the black market sale of stolen credit card and personal information are generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

US officials earlier this year warned the public that the so-called ransomware which encrypts users documents and files without the users permission costs consumers $18 million a year.

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