Cybercriminals use 'customer support' chat to capture ransoms

The developers of Spora, a family of crypto-ransomware, use a group chat reminiscent of a "customer support" portal to address their victims' requests, according to a F-Secure report.

In the report, the Finnish cybersecurity and privacy company published 34 pages of chat transcripts from this group chat, showcasing interactions between cybervictims and the ransomware criminals themselves.

This ransomware "support chat" enables cybercriminals to show users how to purchase Bitcoin, and even delay deadlines. In one exchange, a victim asks to use an alternative payment method, saying that Bitcoin was "too difficult." The Spora "support" responds: "I will send you detailed instruction in few hours. Wait please."

"We should be thankful that there are at least some practical barriers to purchase Bitcoins," Sean Sullivan, a security advisor at F-Secure, writes in the report. "In the past, cybercrime schemes (such as scareware) have been killed off by disrupting the money supply. The same may well be true of cyber extortion; to kill the business model, it may be necessary to ban Bitcoin."

Click here to view more of the report's findings.

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