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With New Digital Tools, Even Nonexperts Can Wage Cyberattacks

来源:纽约时报    2017-05-15 07:08:55

        SAN FRANCISCO — Hackers are discovering that it is far more profitable to hold important data hostage than it is to steal it.        旧金山——黑客们发现,绑架重要数据比窃取数据要赚钱得多。
        A decade-old internet scourge called ransomware went mainstream Friday when cybercriminals seized control of computers around the world, from the delivery giant FedEx in the United States to Britain’s public health system, universities in China and even Russia’s powerful Interior Ministry.        周五,一个有十年历史的网络工具勒索软件进入主流视野。网络犯罪分子控制了世界各地的电脑,包括美国快递业巨头联邦快递(FedEx)、英国的公共卫生系统、中国的多所大学,甚至强大的俄罗斯内政部等等。
        On Saturday, investigators could not tell who was behind the attack as security experts around the world raced to contain it. Across Asia, several universities and organizations said they had been affected. Renault, the European automaker, said Saturday that its French operations had been hit, while one of its plants in Slovakia was shut down because of the digital outbreak.        周六,在世界各地的安全专家迅速采取行动,对袭击加以控制的同时,调查人员无法确定发起袭击者的身份。亚洲的几所大学和机构表示受到了影响。周六,欧洲汽车制造商雷诺(Renault)表示,它在法国的业务受到攻击,由于数字系统崩溃,公司位于斯洛伐克的一家工厂被迫停工。
        Computer users in the United States so far were less affected after a 22-year-old British cybersecurity researcher inadvertently stopped the ransomware attack from spreading more widely.        到目前为止,美国的电脑用户受到的影响较小,因为一名22岁的英国网络安全研究人员无意中阻止了这场勒索软件攻击在更大范围内蔓延。
        Ransomware is nothing new. For years, there have been stories of individuals or companies horrified that they have been locked out of their computers and that the only way back in is to pay a ransom to someone, somewhere who has managed to take control.        勒索软件并非新生事物。多年来,很多个人或公司惊恐地发现自己的电脑被加密了,唯一的解密方式是向在某个地方控制电脑的某个人支付赎金。
        But computer criminals are discovering that ransomware is the most effective way to make money in the shortest amount of time. The advent of new tools that wrap victims’ data with tough encryption technology, hard-to-trace digital currency like bitcoin and even online sites that offer to do the data ransoming in return for a piece of the action have made this method of cybertheft much easier.        不过,电脑犯罪分子发现,勒索软件是在短时间内赚钱的最有效方式。通过用高超加密技术控制受害者数据的新工具,以及比特币等难以追踪的数字货币,甚至还有愿意为分一杯羹而进行数据勒索的在线网站,共同促使这种网络盗窃方式变得容易了很多。
        “You don’t even need to have any skills to do this anymore,” said Jason Rebholz, a senior director at the Crypsis Group who has helped dozens of victims of ransomware.        “你甚至不需要什么技能就能做这件事,”Crypsis Group的高级主管杰森·雷布霍尔兹(Jason Rebholz)说。该公司帮助了数十名勒索软件受害者。
        Ransomware has allowed people who are not computer experts to become computer thieves. It used to be that hackers had to be a little creative and skilled to get money out of people. There were fake anti-virus scams that promised to clean up your computer — for a fee. Sometimes they resorted to Trojan horse programs that lie in wait on e-commerce or banking sites, ready to get your credit card numbers. And there was old-fashioned hacking, grabbing all sorts of personal credentials that could be sold on the dark web.        有了勒索软件,非计算机专家也能成为电脑窃贼。过去,黑客们必须有点创造性和技能才能搞到钱。有些是承诺帮你清理电脑——需收取费用——的假冒反病毒软件。还有些是借助特洛伊木马程序,藏在电子商务网站或银行网站,伺机窃取你的信用卡号码。还有老式的黑客袭击,窃取各种可以在网络黑市上出售的个人账户信息。
        As of Saturday afternoon, several bitcoin accounts associated with the ransomware had received the equivalent of $33,000, according to Elliptic, a firm that tracks online financial transactions involving virtual currencies. And the number could grow.        据追踪虚拟货币在线金融交易的公司Elliptic称,截至周六下午,几个与赎金相关的比特币账户已经收到相当于3.3万美元的赎金。这个数字可能还会增长。
        The attack should not have been a shock. As data has become our lifeline, cybercriminals have elevated their game and their demands. Just five years ago, attackers in Eastern Europe were locking up victims’ computers and demanding ransoms of $100 to $400 to unlock them.        这场袭击谈不上意外。随着数据成为我们的生命线,网络犯罪分子也提升了自己的水平和要求。就在五年前,东欧的袭击者给受害者的电脑加密,并索要100至400美元的赎金才给解密。
        Back then the idea of paying a criminal on the internet was still foreign, and most important, technicians and security experts could find ways to unlock computers without caving on the ransom. In 2012, security experts estimated that fewer than 3 percent of victims paid.        当时,在网上给犯罪分子支付赎金的方式还很新鲜,最重要的是,技术人员和网络安全专家能找到办法给电脑解锁,而不必支付赎金。据安全专家估计,2012年,不到3%的受害者支付了赎金。
        These days, it’s a 50-50 split between those who pay the ransom and those who refuse, because they have adequate backups, are philosophically opposed or simply cannot afford to pay.        如今,有半数的受害者拒绝支付赎金,因为他们有足够的备份,在观念上反对支付赎金,或者只是因为付不起。
        Ransoms now range from as little as one bitcoin, which equates to roughly $1,700, to as many as 30 bitcoin, nearly $51,000, with the median ransom equating to four bitcoin, or nearly $7,000, according to researchers at the Crypsis Group.        据Crypsis Group的研究人员称,现在的赎金要价最少是1个比特币,相当于约1700美元,最多30个比特币,相当于近5.1万美元,中位数是4个比特币,相当于近7000美元。
        Bitcoin has given cybercriminals an easy and anonymous way to get their profits, and it is much harder to track than credit cards or wire transfers.        比特币给网络犯罪分子提供了一个获取收益的简单、匿名的方式,它比信用卡或电汇更难追踪。
        There is even now a concept of “ransomware as a service” — a play on the Silicon Valley jargon “software as a service,” which describes the delivery of software over the internet.        现在甚至有了“勒索软件服务”这个概念——这个词改造自硅谷术语“软件服务”,指的是通过互联网传送软件。
        Now anyone can visit a webpage, generate a ransomware file with the click of a mouse, encrypt someone’s systems and demand a ransom to restore access to the files. If the victim pays, the ransomware provider takes a cut of the payment.        现在,任何人都可以访问一个网页,点击鼠标生成一个勒索软件文件,给某人的电脑系统加密,并索要赎金,以恢复对文件的访问。如果受害者支付赎金,那么勒索软件提供商能获得分成。
        Ransomware criminals also have customer service lines that victims can call to get help paying a ransom. There are even live chat options. And while some amateur ransomware attackers may not restore victims’ data once the ransom is paid, the more professional outfits worry that if they do not decrypt a victim’s data, their reputation and “business” may suffer as a result, Rebholz said.        勒索软件犯罪分子也有客户服务热线,受害者可以致电要求获得支付赎金方面的帮助。甚至可以采取即时聊天的方式。雷布霍尔兹表示,有些业余勒索软件攻击者可能会在获得赎金后不恢复受害者的数据,而更职业的勒索者担心,如果他们不解密受害者的数据,他们的信誉和“业务”可能会受到影响。
        The most notorious of these attackers are part of a group called SamSam after its type of ransomware. SamSam is known for demanding the highest ransoms, 25 to 30 bitcoin. But it reliably decrypts a victim’s data after being paid.        这些攻击者中最臭名昭著的一些人属于一个名为SamSam的组织。该组织得名于它所使用的勒索软件的类型。SamSam以索要最高水平的赎金闻名,通常是25个至30个比特币。不过他们在获得赎金后绝对会给受害者的数据解锁。
        Most small- to medium-size businesses pay the ransoms because they do not have backups of their data and feel they have no other option, Rebholz said. “That data is the bloodline of their business in many cases,” he said. “They can either go out of business or pay the ransom.”        雷布霍尔兹表示,大多数中小企业都会支付赎金,因为他们没有备份数据,认为自己没有别的选择。“在很多情况下,数据是他们业务的生命线,”他说。“他们要么停业,要么支付赎金。”
        Cybercriminals have also found a soft target in universities, which usually have more open systems that allow for the free flow of information.        网络犯罪分子还发现大学是个易于攻击的目标,因为那里为了保证信息的自由流动,通常拥有更多的开放系统。
        More recently, they have found a niche in health care, where ransomware attacks take on a new level of urgency as doctors and emergency rooms in Britain discovered Friday when hackers blocked their access to patient records, and patients had to be turned away.        最近,他们在医疗卫生系统找到了利基市场,勒索软件攻击在这一领域所造成的情况更为紧急,正如英国的医生和急诊室周五遇到的情况,黑客们阻止他们查看病人的病历,所以他们不得不让病人去别处医治。
        Imperial College Healthcare in London, for example, was hit with ransomware 19 times over 12 months, according to freedom-of-information requests submitted by SentinelOne, a security firm.        例如,伦敦帝国学院国家卫生服务信托(Imperial College Healthcare)在12个月内被勒索软件攻击了19次。该信息是应安全公司SentinelOne提出的信息自由要求公布的。
        In the United States, the number of reported ransomware attacks rose fourfold between 2015 and 2016, as did the ransom payments to hackers, to $1 billion, according to the FBI.        根据美国联邦调查局(FBI)的统计,2015年至2016年,美国报告的勒索软件攻击事件增加了三倍,支付的赎金也增至10亿美元。
        Nearly half of ransomware attacks begin by persuading an employee to click on an email. Sometimes the methods used by cybercriminals are more complex. A “watering hole attack,” for example, infects a website with ransomware code. When users visit the site, that code is downloaded onto their machine.        近半数的勒索软件攻击是从说服一名员工点击一封电子邮件开始的。有时网络犯罪分子会使用更复杂的方法。例如,“水坑攻击”是将勒索软件代码植入一个网站。用户访问该网站时,该代码就会被下载到他们的电脑上。
        The other half, Rebholz and others said, target victims with “brute force” methods: Hackers scan an organization for software vulnerabilities, weak passwords or other unlocked digital doors. After that, ransomware attackers try to encrypt as many files as possible. The SamSam group is known to move from file to file, manually encrypting hundreds of systems, so it can demand the highest in bitcoin ransoms, according to the Crypsis Group, Symantec and others.        雷布霍尔兹等专家表示,另一半攻击者以“暴力”方式锁定受害者:黑客搜索一个组织的软件漏洞、过于简单的密码,或其他未加密的数字通道。之后,勒索软件攻击者尝试给尽可能多的文件加密。据Crypsis Group和赛门铁克公司(Symantec)等公司称,SamSam就以给文件逐个加密闻名,手动给成百上千个系统加密,这样它就能索要最多的比特币赎金。
        It seems no one is immune. In January, a hacker held hostage a small cancer charity in Indiana, wiping the organization’s main and backup servers and demanding 50 bitcoin — more than $87,000 — in return for restoring their data. It did not pay.        他们似乎不会放过任何人。今年1月,一名黑客劫持了印第安纳州一个小型癌症慈善机构的电脑系统,移除了该组织主服务器和备份服务器上的数据,并索要50个比特币——相当于逾8.7万美元——作为恢复数据的回报。该组织没有付钱。
        And ransomware attackers are not above playing martyr. In one recent attack that Rebholz tracked, the attackers tried to convince their victim that paying a “contribution” — or ransom — would benefit sick children around the world.        勒索软件的攻击者还会装出乞求的样子。在雷布霍尔兹最近追踪的一次袭击中,袭击者试图说服受害者,支付“捐款”——也就是赎金——能使世界各地的患病儿童受益。
        “That’s where we are,” Rebholz said. “Threat actors are now trying to play people’s emotions, trying to put a pretty face on criminal activity by pretending to be a charity case.”        “这就是现在的情况,”雷布霍尔兹说,“威胁者试图玩弄人们的感情,给自己的犯罪活动披上美丽的外衣,假装是在做慈善。”

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