Hackers for good? Robin Hood and “Goodwill Ransomware”

Who feels like a bet? Place your bets, boys and girls. How many (theatrical) versions of Robin Hood are there?

The survey says 18.

It’s a little; I usually only think of three: Men in Tights, the one with Hans Gruber as the sheriff (villain in Die Hard), and then (of course) the animated one from my childhood.

I’m sure many of you remember the 1970s Sean Connery a tenderly, but it’s before my time (barely), and the 1938 classic with Errol Flynn some of you might also enjoy, but let’s face it, this movie is a snoozer compared to Mel Brooks‘ version.

One thing remains the same in all versions of Robin and his Merry Men (Why were they so merry, anyway? No showers, no Netflix.) – their mission was to steal from the rich and give to the poor.

In the world of cybercrime, this year we have seen the emergence of some Robin Hood type crimes among a certain group of hackers and what they are launching around Florida and the country.

It’s called “goodwill ransomware”.

As I discussed in a column last month about the Costa Rican government hit by ransomware; the typical ransomware attack targets a business, individual, or government. Usually this is a fake email with an embedded link that, when clicked, freezes all files on this computer and all computers connected to it.

Then a demand for payment (ransom); if paid, the hackers will in turn provide the encryption keys to unlock your files.

It’s fair to say that by now most of us have heard of this scenario, but the goodwill attack is quite different. You still have a fake email or a malicious website that exposes you or your organization to an encryption attack, but something rather weird happens after you click through and things get encrypted.

These hackers do not ask for cryptocurrency to recover your files; instead they asking you to do something good for the world? Eh ?

The hackers behind this attack literally want to send you on a scavenger hunt for good activity (digitally documenting it) before granting access to your files.

Once infected, the first thing you see on screen are hackers who describe themselves as not hungry for money and wealth, but they want to help the poor and the needy.

Your first task – if you choose to engage with them – is to donate new clothes and blankets to the homeless.

After that, you’ll have to take underprivileged kids to Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC.

(Fun side story. My old office in Atlanta had a building with all (3) of these establishments – we called it the Triple Threat. You could get a slice, a chicken leg and a taco all at the same time. Yum.) Let’s move on. Something Else: The next mission in your ransomware quest is to visit a hospital and bring joy (and donations) to those struggling there.

While the sentiment behind it is touching and our world could use a massive influx of kindness, that’s not the way to do it.

Avoid cybercrime at all costs, due to the disruptions caused by taking networks offline for potentially extended periods of time.

Always have a redundant cloud and on-premises backup of your systems (not just files) ready to deploy so you can restore from backup rather than pay ransoms.

Also have two-factor authentication on all machines. Force your team to undergo email phishing simulations and cyber training to ensure they are prepared for the real world and to invest in advanced cyber protection.

It shouldn’t take hackers extorting us to send kindness, so as an incentive, here are some local organizations in Florida that we all know need our help: Refuge House serving the Big Bend area of ​​North Florida, Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Big Bend — Youth Mentoring, Big Bend Second Harvest, Goodwill Industries—Big Bend, Inc. and Big Bend Habitat for Humanity.

Our friends from The post of Jerusalem say that these hackers are most likely based in India, as that is where the email and IP address traces lead.

But let’s be clear here, there was a single Robin Hood that roamed Britain in the 1300s and these people are not him.

Be safe there in Florida.


Blake Dowling is the CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and led this short film celebrating the company’s 25 years of activity in Florida. Long live!

No animals were harmed (just annoyed) during the filming of this project.

The star of our Aegis 25th video, Pete, is now on Instagram @PeterTheDestroyer.

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