The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) advises Nigerians to be wary of IGVM, a file-encrypting Ransomware infection that restricts access to data, including documents, images, videos, by encrypting files with the “igvm” extension. It attempts to extort money from victims by requesting for “ransom”, in the form of Bitcoin cryptocurrency in exchange for access to data.
A statement released by NITDA warns: “This crypto-virus spreads in different methods like web injectors, pirated software, spam emails, malicious software bundles, fake software updates, and deceiving online ads.
The primary task of IGVM ransomware virus is to check your computer system for target file formats and encrypt them using a private RSA key. Once virus locks the files, it then runs several commands via CMD.exe to delete Volume Shadow Copies from your system. It equally prevents the victims from restoring their file copies for free, using Windows tools. Next, the virus modifies Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of domains to it. These domains are mostly computer or IT-relates websites, so the attackers capitalize on this measure to prevent the victim from seeking help or information online.”
In the light of the risk, NITDA urged Nigerians to, among other measures, ensure regular data backup and recovery plan for all critical information; use application whitelisting to help prevent malicious software and unapproved programs from running; keep operating system and software up-to-date with the latest patches and maintain up-to-date anti-virus software, and scan all software downloaded from the internet before installing.
Other measures to be followed include not following unsolicited web links in emails; not downloading or opening suspicious email attachments and not opening emails from suspicious recipients.
“Furthermore, if paying up seems like the only reason to get your files back, we strongly advise against ransom payments. Various cybersecurity experts do not recommend paying up,” the Agency cautioned.
The reasons, according to NITDA, are that “the criminals might stop responding as soon as you transfer money to their virtual wallet address; the so-called decryption tool can be faulty or fail to work due to data modification on your end; avoiding funding this illegal business model. The fact that ransomware operators collect millions in ransoms each year simply encourages people to join this cybercrime industry.”
The statement signed by the Agency’s Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations Mrs. Hadiza Umar advised victims of Ransomware to contact NITDA CERRT via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone +2348178774580, to make their reports and source help.
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts files, and often renames them; and displays or creates a ransom note to extort money from the victim.