A new purported ransomware variant is hitting Linux servers, deleting files and demanding payment for the return of lost data.
The scam is possibly a bluff, since it does not follow the regular format of encrypting files and leaving ransom notes for slick and automated payment.
Information on the attacks is scarce. Bleeping Computer researcher Lawrence Abrams suspects it is likely a copy of the deleted files with the web folder uploaded to an attacker's server, rather than complex encryption being applied.
"In this attack, the attackers most likely do not encrypt the files, and if they do retain the files, probably just upload it to a server under their control," Abrams says.
"At this time it is unknown if the attacker actually retains the victim's files and will return them after ransom payment.
"Though all ransomware victims should avoid paying a ransom, if you do plan on paying, it is suggested you verify they have your files first."
At least one user reported the attackers were breaking into servers by way of brute-force SSH attacks.
Attackers use a pastebin note to warn victims their files will be leaked if payment of two bitcoins (US$1,141) is not made within a fortnight.
The scam seems to El Reg to be classic ransomware in name only, since there is no encryption of local files for security researchers to attempt to reverse. Attackers claim to be encrypting files they then steal, which appears to be an unnecessary step unless they are attempting to prevent an early accidental leak of files.
Researchers have pooled their to-date successful anti-ransomware efforts under the No More Ransom joint effort between McAfee and parent company Intel, Kaspersky Labs, Europol's EC3 cybercrime division, and Dutch police. ®
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