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Ransomware Soon to be Uncrackable
New Malware, or Ransomware, is using encryption so strong that experts will be unable to save affected data. In the past security companies usually broke the encryption within a day or two.No Longer Supported
But malware code writers have moved on from using encryption algorithms based on 56-bit to 660-bit RSA. The Ransomware Trojan Gpcode.ag used a 660-bit key and the encryption has yet to broken. The anti-virus company Kaspersky described the processing power required to decrypt such a key as equivalent to setting a 2.2 GHz PC to work for thirty years. Of course using more powerful computers in parallel can reduce that time considerably. But should ransomware authors switch to something even stronger such as Blowfish or AES encryption you'll never get our data back. NIST.gov has the following to say about AES encryption "Assuming that one could build a machine that could recover a DES key in a second (i.e., try 255 keys per second), then it would take that machine approximately 149 thousand-billion (149 trillion) years to crack a 128-bit AES key. To put that into perspective, the universe is believed to be less than 20 billion years old." (currently using powerful computers in parallel it takes about 24 hours to break DES 56 bit encryption).

Obviously prevention is the best course of action. Having multiple off-site backups can also help. Currently ransomware is not a huge problem (unless, of course, you are one of the unfortunate people who's data is being held hostage) but this threat is expected to grow. Ransomware authors know that even law enforcement won't be able to help you get your data back. If you want it you'll have to pay them first. Expect targeted attacks with unique malware code that anti-virus programs can not detect yet. User education can help prevent targeted attacks but as we all know that is not perfect either.






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Posted by NIST.org on Wednesday 26 July 2006 - 04:53:34 | |printer friendly
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