Apparently, even the most inexperienced hacker can become a partner in crime by registering interest via a forum. The creators behind Cerber are thus building a large network – and can therefore attack even more targets. Of course, there is some financial gain for both parties. The individual hacker receives up to 65 percent of the money, the rest goes to the Cerber group. Checkpoint calculates that the company can theoretically bring in up to one million US dollars per year.
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But it doesn’t stop there. Over time, Cerber has become increasingly accessible to hobbyist hackers around the world. Partly through an advertising campaign where the creators carefully detail their “service”, and partly through the software itself getting a more easily operated interface.
As with other ransomware, Cerber locks the files on your hard drive by encrypting them. Then the program demands the ransom to unlock the files.
Checkpoint currently tracks Cerber activity and has also teamed up with Israel-based Intsights in the fight against the malware. So far, they have discovered, among other things, that Cerber attacked computer users in a number of different countries but spared users from Russia, Eastern European countries and Central Asia.
According to Checkpoint, the worst affected country is South Korea. The attacks mainly take place via e-mail, then in the form of malicious links containing installation files. There have also been reported cases where the sender sent the malware in the form of a job application.