Ransomware getting more sophisticated cautions Dutch security firm

Ransomware - a form of malware that takes your personal files and data "hostage" and only releases them once you've paid a sum of money - is getting more and more sophisticated, security expert Martin van Dantzig of Fox-IT warned in the Volkskrant. This last period has seen particularly rapid professionalization, he said.

A example for the rapidly professionalizing ransomware is the recently discovered Spora. This malware program includes an algorithm that analyzes whether a computer is used for business or pleasure, and determines the ransom based on that. Infected users who want to regain access to their files are redirected to an online store.

On the store they can see two of their files for free, and are then directed to an anonymous payment counter. To facilitate the payment process, you can ask up to five questions to a helpdesk that seems to be manned by actual human workers. There is also an option for you to prevent future ransomware attacks by paying even more money.

According to Van Dantzig, this kind of innovation has recently become a common occurrence in ransomware. The developers do this for the same reason reputable online stores, like Amazon, continually improve their stores - the easier you make it for the customer, the more likely they are to pay, Van Dantzig explained to the newspaper. 

So far Spora seems to only be focused on Russian users, according to Fox-IT. The origin of this ransomware is unknown. 

In addition to computers, ransomware is also increasingly targeting smartphones, tablets and also smart televisions.