New ransomware threat deletes files from Linux web servers

Attackers claim the files are first encrypted and uploaded to a server under their control

A destructive ransomware program deletes files from web servers and asks administrators for money to return them, though it's not clear if attackers can actually deliver on this promise.

Dubbed FairWare, the malicious program is not the first ransomware threat to target Linux-based web servers but is the first to delete files. Another program called Linux.Encoder first appeared in November and encrypted files, but did so poorly, allowing researchers to create recovery tools.

After attackers hack a web server and deploy FairWare, the ransomware deletes the entire web folder and then asks for two bitcoins (around US$1,150) to restore them, Lawrence Abrams, the founder of tech support forum BleepingComputer.com, said in a blog post.

In the ransom note left on the server, attackers claim that before being deleted from the targeted server, the files were first encrypted and uploaded to another server under their control.

"We are the only ones in the world that can provide your files for you!" the ransom note reads. The payment must be made within two weeks, the note says.

There is no evidence yet that attackers actually have copies of the deleted files, so users should think twice before paying. The ransom note includes a contact email address but says questions like "can I see files first?" will be ignored.

Many server operators may decide not to pay because websites typically have backup routines in place. Many web hosting providers also include daily or weekly backups as part of their service.

Webmasters who run their own web servers should keep in mind that backups must be saved to an offsite location, not on the production server where they can be affected by a potential server compromise.

Even with backups available, a ransomware infection should be cause for concern and should prompt the server administrator to investigate the weakness that allowed the server incident to occur in the first place. Possible causes include vulnerabilities in the website or stolen administrative credentials.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?