What if you had only 72 hours to save valuable documents from being stolen off of your computer? What if the only way to rescue them was to blindly pay hundreds of dollars to an unknown hacker? Would you pay the price? That’s the dilemma thousands of people are now facing thanks to a new, highly malicious ransomware known as CryptoLocker.
CryptoLocker is a malware that has spread over the past few months through emails appearing to be sent from various credible businesses. Once a computer is infected with the virus, files on the hard drive, potentially including irreplaceable photos and documents, become encrypted and can only be saved if the owner pays a ransom of virtual Bitcoins to the hacker. If the fee is not paid by the time the countdown ends, the computer owner lose access to the files forever.
Using Crimson Hexagon’s social media analytics platform ForSight, we looked at the social conversation on Twitter from October 7 to November 17 to see how people have discussed the CryptoLocker virus.
Of the 3,140 relevant tweets, 42% are from users warning others about Crytolocker and offering prevention tips. Users most notably remind those who have yet to come in contact with the virus to backup important documents to an external hard drive.
Another 22% of users claim they or someone they know actually got the virus; 4% of tweets are questions and cries for help from those whose computers have been infected.
Around 13% praise CryptoLocker and state that they are impressed by the concept and by how advanced the ransomware is. The malicious virus has also instilled fear in some Twitter users, as 11% claim they are afraid of their computer becoming infected. Another 8% also went so far as to call CryptoLocker the worst virus ever created.
This CryptoLocker ransomware is genius. Whoever came up with this is a comic book level evil villain.
— Kevin (@BronzingProcess) October 18, 2013
This Cryptolocker stuff I’m hearing about is downright scary.
— Daniel Sims (@RedSwirl) October 26, 2013
The volume of relevant posts on Twitter about Cryptolocker has spiked recently, with a 192% volume increase over time. Also, the number of tweets from users who got the virus has increased by 22%.
Cryptolocker, a malware that remains relatively uncracked, continues to torment unsuspected users. The social discussion of the virus has rapidly increased and, despite warnings from others, the number of users taking to social media to claim they have received the virus continues to grow.