Miscellaneous 3 min. read

7 of the most malicious ransomware strains of 2016

7 of the most malicious ransomware strains of 2016

Hotspot Shield ransomware protection VPN

Around the end of September this year, Europol released a statement tagging ransomware as currently the biggest online threat for Internet users. Days prior to this announcement, popular security app developer Malwarebytes found that ransomware attacks were on the rise as 40 percent out of 500 businesses surveyed reported that they have experienced these attacks, with a third of them posting significant financial losses.

Ransomware attacks are seen to rise in the coming months, which is why businesses and users must employ security measures to ensure that their privacy and security are protected, and it all starts with knowing about the most dangerous ransomware that roam the Internet today and what they can do.

Read on to find about 7 of the biggest ransomware strains that made headlines in 2016, and how a ransomware protection VPN can help you avoid them.


Virlock is the world’s first self-replicating ransomware. Just like the usual malware strain, it encrypts all files and folders upon infecting a system, locking away the victims’ screens and leaving their files inaccessible. In addition to the usual processes employed by ransomware, though, Virlock also acts like a parasitic virus, leaving all the other files infected. Researchers even said it can use cloud-based software to spread itself.


First observed in August this year, this ransomware strain mimics the processes employed by CTB-Locker. It was found being circulated online through the use of social engineering practices involving emails, with the infected emails typically having subject lines that include the names of popular brands to get people to click. MarsJoke is known to primarily target state and local government agencies.


Upon infecting a device, DetoxCrypto will then encrypt all the files in the victim’s device, and display a lock screen while playing music. What makes people susceptible to becoming infected by DetoxCrypto is that it masquerades as many of today’s most popular programs; it has been known to imitate widely-used apps such as Pokemon Go and Malwarebytes anti-malware.


According to reports, Ransom.Cerber is a Trojan horse that is currently being offered on underground forums in Russia as a Ransomware as a Service or RaaS, meaning that a lot of hackers can easily access it for personal use in exchange for a small payment.


This ransomware tricks unwitting victims into becoming infected by posing as a Windows Update. Upon infiltrating a computer, the usual ransomware routine is prompted. What makes Fantom unique is that it can generate a Windows Update screen that looks legitimate, distracting the victim until the infection process is completed. When it’s done with the process, it then deletes itself after replacing the desktop with the ransom notification.


Cryptowall is just like any other malware strain found online, but is mainly distributed through spam campaigns, malvertising and infected links and websites. Cryptowall-laden emails typically contain messages that urge the reader to download the file and can come in the form of undelivered package notices, incoming fax or invoice emails.


CTB-Locker remains a stalwart placeholder in the list of the most dangerous ransomware strains to watch out for. While it slowly decreased in distribution after being discovered in 2014, the strain was found to reappear as a stronger strain this year. It employs the usual method of infiltrating operating systems, via infected email messages and fake downloads, but the strain is high complex it can infect not only users but also websites.

Protect yourself against ransomware with Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield ransomware protection VPN

For better protection against ransomware and other types of malware online, download Hotspot Shield VPN now. This ransomware protection VPN provides added security for your device by protecting you from accessing websites and links that are infected with malware. Hotspot Shield does this using a database of more than 3.5 million websites known to be infected.

In addition to this, Hotspot Shield has additional features for a better Internet experience such as website unblocking, anonymous browsing, advanced encryption technology, and protection against snoopers and hackers when connecting online using public hotspots.

Protect yourself against ransomware and other types of malware by downloading Hotspot Shield, the best ransomware protection VPN today! To know more about its benefits, visit the Hotspot Shield website and read our other blog posts.

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