Hackers have discovered a new way to part computer uses with their money. They plant malware on a computer that threatens to report the computer user to the police for viewing or distributing porn.
It’s a form of hacking called “ransomware,” according to a new report by security company Symantec, which estimates hackers are earning upwards of $5 million a year from computer users who fall for the scam and pay the blackmail.
Specifically, Symantec warns that:
An investigation into one of the smaller players in this scam identified 68,000 compromised computers in just one month, which could have resulted in victims being defrauded of up to $400,000. … Given the number of different gangs operating ransomware scams, a conservative estimate is that over $5 million a year is being extorted from victims. The real number is, however, likely much higher.