The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) had warned Nigerians to beware of IGVM Ransomware, a file-encrypting infection that restricts access to data such as documents, images, and videos.
Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Cooperate Affairs and External Relations of the agency, gave the warning in a statement on Saturday.
Umar said the virus “corrupts the computer by encrypting files with the IGVM extension and attempts to extort money from victims by requesting for ransom in the form of Bitcoin cryptocurrency in exchange for access to data”.
She said the crypto-virus could spread in the form of web injectors, pirated software, spam emails, malicious software bundles, fake software updates, and deceptive online advertisements.
“The primary task of IGVM ransomware virus is to check your computer system for target file formats and encrypt them using a private Rivest–Shamir–Adleman (RSA) key and once the virus locks the files, it then runs several commands via Command.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-related websites. So the attackers capitalise on this measure to prevent the victim from seeking help or information online,” she said.
She urged Nigerians to ensure regular data backup and recovery plan for all critical information.
“Use application whitelisting to help prevent malicious software and unapproved programme from running.
“Keep operating system and software up-to-date with the latest patches.
“Maintain up-to-date anti-virus software, and scan all software downloaded from the internet before installing.
“Do not follow unsolicited web links in emails and do not download or open suspicious email attachments,” she advised.
“The so-called decryption tool can be faulty or fail to work due to data modification on your end.
“It is a way of funding an illegal business model, hence citizens should avoid it.
“The fact that ransomware operators collect millions in ransoms each year simply encourages people to join this cybercrime industry,” she said.
She further urged Nigerians to report related incidents by contacting NITDA Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team via the email [email protected] or telephone +2348178774580.