We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

'Ransomware' hacker identified

Russian attempted to sell solution to Kaspersky

Police have identified the hacker behind the infamous Gpcode 'ransomware' virus that hit computers in July.

Luckily, on this occasion, Gpcode's author had made a number of more basic programming errors that allowed researchers to construct a method for recovering files. It turned out that while encrypting data, the original files had been 'deleted' using the Windows file system. This meant that although invisible to the operating system, the files were still on the disk and could be recovered using available tools.

One thing Gpcode has made clear is that technology alone can't now defend against this type of malware. Once on an undefended PC, reversing its effects depends on having access to the private RSA key, and that means tracking down the author.

According to Kaspersky, stopping ransomware-based malware in the future will require more effective law enforcement, the use of forensic software analysis to tie suspects to their malevolent creations, and possibly building restrictions into the Windows cryptographic software libraries used to create Gpcode itself.

Despite its frightening reputation, ransomware is still, thankfully, a rare phenomenon. There are various theories as to why this is the case, ranging from the complexity of the software itself to the difficulty of setting up a reliable channel through which to accept 'ransom' payments from victims. Other, easier types of malware might just be more profitable to criminals.

IDG UK Sites

Best January sales 2015 UK tech deals LIVE: Best New Year bargains and savings on phones, tablets,...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

Best Photoshop Tutorials 2014: 10 inspiring step-by-step guides to creating amazing art,...

IDG UK Sites

Mac tips tricks & hacks: 10 things you didn't know your Mac could do