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ImageGate: Ransomware That Spreads Through Social Networks

by Administrator 22. February 2017 06:19

ImageGate is a recent form of ransomware that attempts to spread malware through images and graphic files on social media websites. It has been discovered by two security researchers at Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., Roman Ziskin and Dikla Barda. The ransomware works in the same way as Locky virus that automatically encrypts the victim’s files and demands a ransom in order to reveal the decryption key.

Considering the massive increase in the use of social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, hackers are directing their focus on breaching the security of these websites. They are continually looking for ways to use these platforms as hosts to carry out their malicious activities.

How Does ImageGate Work?

According to the security researchers, ImageGate works by embedding malicious code into the image files and posting them on ‘white listed’ social media websites. The targeted image files usually have extensions other than ‘.jpg’ or ‘.jpeg’. The malware aims at manipulating the misconfigurations in the social media platforms to purposely compel the users to click on the image. Once the file has been downloaded and the user clicks to open it, all the files on the computer system are encrypted. In order to regain access to the locked files, the user is required to pay the hackers a certain amount as ransom in bitcoins.

Tips To Protect Against ImageGate Ransomware

  • Make sure you do not click on any unidentified file downloaded to your computer system.
  • If a file gets forcibly downloaded, do not open or execute it. You should carefully delete the file so that the ransomware is not able to infect the files stored on the device.
  • You should avoid clicking and downloading images as well as graphic files from social media websites.
  • Do not open image files that have unknown file extensions, particularly ‘.svg’, ‘.hta’ and ‘.js’.
  • The anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer should be regularly updated to stay protected against latest forms of ransomware.
  • It is recommended to be vigilant while accessing your social networking accounts. Even a single malicious download can make you lose access to your device and all the files stored within it.

Centex Technologies provides complete cyber security solutions to the business organizations in Dallas, TX. For more information on ImageGate and other forms of malware, feel free to contact us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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