A Trojan digitally encrypts files and asks for a ransom

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MADRID, May 25, 2005 - PandaLabs has recently reported the appearance of a type of malware that encrypts files on the infected computer and then asks for a fee in order to release these files. This is a new type of behavior, rarely seen until now, and to which the FBI in the United States are now alert.

The malware in question, Trj.PGPCoder.A, is a Trojan, and as is usual in these cases, cannot propagate by itself. Once installed on a computer, it creates two registry keys: one to ensure it is run on every system startup, and the second to monitor the progress of the Trojan in the infected computer, counting the number of files that have been analyzed by the malicious code.

Once it has been run, the Trojan embarks on its mission, which is to encrypt, using a digital encryption key, all the files it finds on computer drives with extensions corresponding to those listed in its code. These extensions include DOC (Microsoft Word documents), HTML (web pages), JPG (images), XLS (Microsoft Excel spreadsheets), ZIP and RAR (two common compressed file formats).

The blackmail is completed with the Trojan dropping a text file in each directory, with instructions to the victim of what to do. An email address is supplied through which users are supposed to request for their files to be released after paying a ransom of $200.

To prevent infection from Trj.PGPCoder.A or other malicious code, Panda Software advises all users to keep their antivirus software up-to-date. Panda Software has already made the corresponding updates to detect and eliminate this new malicious worm available to clients.

Panda Software's clients can already access the updates for installing the new TruPrevent(tm) Technologies along with their antivirus protection, providing a preventive layer of protection against new malware. For users with a different antivirus program installed, Panda TruPrevent(tm) Personal is the perfect solution, as it is both compatible with and complements these products, providing a second layer of preventive protection that acts while the new virus is still being studied and the corresponding update is incorporated into traditional antivirus programs, decreasing the risk of infection.

Source: Panda Software
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