The latest ransomware strain to infect computers and extort money has been dubbed Thanatos.
Discovered by cyber security experts at MalwareHunterTeam, the new strain of malware is unique in that it’s the first ransomware to demand Bitcoin Cash in return for decrypting your data.
Ransomware extortionists have tended to demand cryptocurrencies such as Zcash and Monero due to their increasing use in illicit activities, however this marks the first case of Bitcoin Cash being requested as a ransom payment.
Bitcoin Cash is a new spin off from Bitcoin and like other emerging cryptocurrencies it is almost impossible to trace the recipient, making it the payment method of choice for cybercriminals.
Thanatos is a type of Trojan malware that infects a computer and generates a new encryption key for every file encrypted. All the encrypted filenames are changed to .THANATOS and a ransom note in the form of a README.txt file pops up when the user attempts to log in.
The problem with this new ransomware is that it doesn't save the encryption keys so the files cannot be decrypted and recovered even if a ransom is paid.
Users are strongly advised not to pay any ransom and protect themselves online by installing and updating anti-virus software, backing up data, regularly changing passwords and using different passwords for separate accounts.