“Ransomware is unique among cybercrime because in order for the attack to be successful, it requires the victim to become a willing accomplice after the fact”
– James Scott
Ransomware, What Am I?
Ransomwares are malicious software that blocks access of users from their own devices with a view to extort payment from their intended victims. Ransomware made its first debut as early as the 1980s when a number of computers used by participants of the 1989 World Health Organization’s AIDS conference became infected by a lockout virus.
Into 2000s – The Age of Extortion
By the turn of the century, the proliferation of the internet amplified the spread of ransomware. During this era, ransomware took the form of pop-ups with catastrophic error message instructing end users to download certain software (which turns out to be the trojan virus) in order to fix a problem. Users were inadvertently tricked into downloading the real virus when they click the ‘Fix Now’ button that usually accompanies/ed such pop-up messages.
Overtime, as ransomware attacks evolved and became more sophisticated, so did their ability to harm day to day lives of their victims. With more and more parts of our human existence having been digitized since the 1980s, massive ransomware attacks the likes of WannaCry is believed to have caused no less than US$4 Billion worth of economic losses to its victims.
2020: Ransomware Locks Internet Connected Chastity Belts
The lockdown of computers (which may cause inconvenience) is nothing compared to the lockdown/losing control over one’s own body.
Such fears were materialized recently when users of internet-connected chastity belts found themselves in an uncomfortable situation as hackers found a way to exploit the chastity belt’s application programming interface (“API”) and locked out the users from control over their devices. Such attacks are frightening as some users are reported to have been wearing such device at the time of the hack.
Once control over the device by a hacker is established, it was reported that users would receive a ransom message demanding payment of 0.02 Bitcoins (around US$750 at the time), failing which the chastity belt (if being…