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Crypt888 ransomware evolving in an 'unusual' way, says AVG

By Sara Barker
Wed 12 Oct 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

AVG has drawn attention to a strain of ransomware that it has dubbed 'Crypt888', which is breaking the evolutionary mould of other strains the security company has detected.

The Crypt888 ransomware also goes by the name of MicroCop or Mircop, and was discovered this year. The company posted a blog in which it discusses how its decryptors picked up an unusual evolution pattern featured in the ransomware.

Instead of evolving capabilities, Crypt888 developers instead experimented with languages and user interfaces rather than making the ransom code more pervasive, AVG says.

The company says Crypt888's code is the same as older versions - and in fact only a language changes features in the latest. It may be easy to retrieve files, but AVG warns the presentation of the ransomware is raising some interesting questions.

AVG has tracked 'several' evolutions of the ransomware - first came what the company calls the 'business card' version, much like a test version. The 'Italian' version came next, with new features and language errors. The latest 'Czech' version also brought language errors, which the company believes is a sign of machine translation or non-native speakers.

AVG states that the first versions were riddled with problems, such as demanding payment but providing no information about how to repay or decrypt files. The 'Czech' version gives victims five days to pay and send proof to two email addresses. There is no mention of what happens in the event of a missed deadline.

The 'Czech' version also states it's a 'Petya ransomware 2017', but AVG says this is a false move designed to trick users hit by Crypt888 into thinking it's part of the famous (and not yet decryptable) ransomware strain.

AVG believes that Crypt888 creators are still making new versions of the ransomware, focusing on visual changes and threats rather than the actual ransomware coding.

AVG says it's easy for victims to decrypt files. The company is monitoring the ransomware to ensure its decryption tool will work for old and new versions of the Crypt888 strain. 

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