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The Upside Down

The Upside Down is an alternate dimension existing in parallel to the human world. Most, if not all, flora and fauna present in the dimension are linked together in a hive mind controlled by the Mind Flayer, essentially forming an enormous superorganism. A key component of this hive mind was a species of humanoid predators, dubbed Demogorgons, which originated from the dimension.

On November 6, 1983, during an experiment hosted at Hawkins National Laboratory, a child test subject named Eleven made inter-dimensional contact with a Demogorgon and unintentionally opened the Gate. Through this gateway, the Mind Flayer began using its dominion over the Upside Down to invade the town of Hawkins, spreading toxic biological matter presumably with the goal to eventually invade the entire Earth. However, this plan was stopped when the Gate was closed, supposedly severing the dimension's connection to Earth's dimension.



The history of the Upside Down remains a mystery. Exactly how and why it came into existence, is unclear. However, its existence is heavily implied to be linked to the Mind Flayer.


In one of Hawkins National Laboratory's experiments, a test subject labeled Eleven was immersed in a deep psychic state via sensory deprivation tank. She could observe people in different physical locations while in this frame of mind. Dr. Brenner sought to use this power to spy on enemy Russians.

While Eleven eavesdropped on a Russian spy, from within the Void, she accidentally encountered the Demogorgon. At Brenner's request, Eleven made contact with the Demogorgon while it fed off a large, yellow egg. In the moment contact was established, a gate between the two dimensions cracked open in the wall of the tank room, causing panic and confusion among the scientists. Amidst the chaos, Eleven escaped from the lab and the Demogorgon set foot in the human world and proceeded to attack its first victims.

The Demogorgon moved through dimensions by creating temporary wounds in the fabric of time and space: It began harvesting the bodies of humans and animals, storing them in the Upside Down version of the public library. Around the same time, Hawkins Lab began investigating the dimension and discovering exactly what it contained.

At one point, Nancy Wheeler entered the Upside Down through a temporary portal in the base of a tree. She realized it was dangerous to stay in the dimension, quickly leaving before the Monster could find her.

Although Will Byers was taken into the Upside Down by the Demogorgon, he managed to evade capture for several days. During that time, he attempted to communicate with his mother after he realized he could manipulate electricity in his home dimension. On one occasion Will found a temporary portal in the wall, briefly talking to his mother directly through it before it resealed. The Demogorgon eventually found him inside Castle Byers and took him to the library. Hopper and Joyce later entered the Upside Down via the Gate, eventually finding Will attached to a tendril extending down his throat, which they immediately removed. After Will was resuscitated, the three returned to their home dimension, presumably back through the Gate.

At Hawkins Middle School, Eleven used all her remaining strength to disintegrate the Demogorgon to protect Mike, Dustin and Lucas, and vanished away. However, it was revealed that she was actually transported back to the Upside Down. Eleven later escaped the Upside Down by enlarging a portal to the real world.

1983 - 1984

One month later, everything had seemingly returned to normal in Hawkins. However, Will's time in the Upside Down had severely affected him. He began to see visions of the Upside Down temporarily flicker into existence around him.

By 1984, the Hawkins Lab staff was changed from its previous workers, with Dr. Sam Owens taking over as Head of Operations. After finding out about his episodes, Joyce began taking Will to the lab where he'd be looked over by Owens.

Meanwhile, the lab continued to study the still open Gate and the Upside Down, placing a probe-like machine within the dimension, presumably to gather data. In an attempt to keep the growth under control, they began to periodically burn the vines and tendrils extending from the Gate. Despite these attempts, the Gate eventually grew to an enormous size, extending far beneath the lab and forming a series of tunnels.

The word about the Upside Down spread to Russia where the Soviets decided to access their own way to the dimension. By June 28, 1984, Soviet scientists invented a machine that was capable of tearing through time and space that could open a Gate to the Upside Down. However, when activating the machine, it exploded, killing a bunch of scientists after a Gate was partially opened before it closed. Many more of these machines were built in Russia, but they ended up with the same results as the first machine.


On the evening of October 29, 1984, as Will was at the Palace with his friends, he began having another episode. He walked out the door and witnessed what appeared to be a red electrical storm.

The following morning, Hopper was called to Merrill's farm to investigate a strange rot that had decimated the entirety of the pumpkin patch. During his appointment at the lab later that day, Will told Owens about his vision. Will told him that he believes an evil force wants to kill everyone. Instead of taking heed of this warning, Owens told Joyce and Hopper that the increased number of Will's visions was simply caused by the “Anniversary Effect”. That night, Will experienced another episode while in his living room, witnessing the door swing open to reveal the Upside Down. He stepped outside, seeing the silhouette of a massive spider-like creature.

Hopper continued his investigation of the rotten crops and discovered that the rot had begun to spread to the nearby trees. That night, as Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Max, and Will were trick-or-treating, Will again had another vision of the Upside Down. He watched as the massive shadow monster ascended into the sky and began pursuing him.

When returning home that night, Dustin found a small pollywog-like creature in his trashcan, naming it D'Artagnan. When Dustin brought Dart to school the next day, Will believed it to originate from the Upside Down due to its resemblance to the slug he had coughed up a year before. After warning his friends, they took Dart to the AV room where they witnessed it grow a pair of hind legs. Mike tried to attack Dart, causing it to flee and run loose throughout the school. Will eventually found it in a bathroom; Dart screeched at him, causing Will to run away. As he ran through the halls, he suddenly began having another episode, being transported to the Upside Down version of the school. Running outside to the field, he was again met by the gigantic shadow monster. Instead of running, Will tried screaming at the monster to go away. The shadow monster then engulfed Will in one of his tornado-like appendages, allowing a part of himself to latch onto him.

From that point on, Will gradually became possessed by the shadow monster. His body temperature dropped and he developed an aversion to heat. He also began experiencing what he called “now-memories”, where he could see and know what the shadow monster did. In order to better explain his now-memories, Joyce asked Will to draw what he saw. He began frantically drawing what at first appeared to be random scribbles, but Joyce and Hopper soon realized that the drawings were all connected. After assembling the drawings in the correct order, they discovered the drawings depicted a strange maze-like pattern.

Believing the drawings to depict vines, Hopper went back to the pumpkin patch. By digging into the earth, Hopper discovered the existence of the underground tunnels, overgrown with biological matter from the Upside Down. While traversing the tunnels, Hopper became entrapped in vines, unable to escape. Will learned of his predicament through his connection with the shadow monster, and with the help of Bob Newby, they were able to pinpoint his location within the tunnels. After Joyce and Bob successfully freed Hopper, soldiers from the lab arrived and urged them to leave. As the soldiers began burning the tunnels, Will suddenly collapsed and began convulsing on the ground.

Will was taken to the lab were he was quickly sedated. When Will awoke, he could not remember Owens, Bob, or Hopper, and was barely able to remember Mike. In a test involving a severed vine from the Upside Down, Owens asked if Will could feel anything as another scientist used a blowtorch to burn the vine. Through this, they determined that Will had some sort of “virus” that connected him to all other infected hosts in a hive intelligence.

Dustin discovered that Dart was actually a baby Demogorgon and trapped it in the storm cellar. He then enlisted Steve's help in dealing with it. However, when they entered the cellar, they discovered that, not only had Dart molted again, but it had also escaped through a tunnel it had dug in the earth. Dustin and Steve, along with Lucas and Max, came up with a plan to lure Dart to the Junkyard using raw meat. While this plan succeeded, they had also managed to attract several other members of Dart's species. While the pack was attacking the bus, they suddenly stopped and began heading towards the lab.

Claiming he knew of a way to beat the shadow monster, Will pointed out a location in the tunnels, saying “he doesn't want me to see there.” As the soldiers entered the tunnels, Will revealed that the shadow monster had forced him to deceive them. The soldiers were ambushed and killed by a pack of Demodogs. Shortly after, Demodogs began invading the lab. While the group was escaping the lab, Bob was tackled and killed by several Demodogs. Everyone else, excluding Owens who had stayed behind, managed to escape the lab.

While speculating the shadow monster's weakness, Lucas, Mike, Dustin, and Max theorized that if they destroyed the monster, they would also destroy the monster's army. When they realized that the shadow monster controlled everything in a hive mind, they compared it to the Mind Flayer, a monster from Dungeons & Dragons that similarly controls the minds native instruments kontakt player its victims. The boys' D&D manual also stated that the Mind Flayer's goal was to spread and take over other dimensions, making them speculate that the shadow monster wanted to do the same. The group then planned to interrogate Will to find the shadow monster's weakness.

After making the backyard shed unrecognizable, they attempted to interrogate Will. While the Mind Flayer had taken over a majority of Will's mind and body, a part of Will managed to subconsciously signal to them in Morse code. Deciphering his message, they discovered the way to stop the Mind Flayer: closing the Gate. Soon after, the phone in the Byers' kitchen rang, giving away their location. A pack of Demodogs quickly surrounded the house. Before they could attack, Eleven arrived and eradicated them.

After taking Will to Hopper's cabin, Joyce, Nancy, and Jonathan restrained him, surrounding him with numerous heaters. This eventually caused the piece of the Mind Flayer possessing Will to be expelled from his body. Hopper guided Eleven through the lab to the Gate, so that she may finally close it for good. Drawing on all her strength and pain, Eleven successfully used her powers to seal the space-time rift, presumably cutting off the Mind Flayer from Earth.

On December 15, during the Snow Ball, the Mind Flayer loomed over the Upside Down version of Hawkins Middle School. Also, the part of the Mind Flayer that was inside Will Byers still remained in the human world and was in a state of hibernation.


The Russians realized that their machine, the Key, was only part of their problem in trying to gain access into the Upside Down. Its location was the other part. Knowing that the Gate was open in Hawkins, Indiana before its closure, the Soviets decided to secretly go to America and build a Key in Hawkins as the fabric of time and space was still healing.

Through Starcourt Industries, the Soviets made dealings with the Mayor of Hawkins, Larry Kline to buying up property in East Hawkins. To operate the Key, the Russians began construction on Starcourt Mall where it would serve as a front with their base underneath the mall as they built a Key machine.


On June 28, 1985, some time after the opening of Starcourt Mall, the Russians finished building a new Key machine where they successfully opened a Gate to the Upside Down. However, in succeeding in their task, the energy from the Key caused a major short power outage in Hawkins. Also, the opening of the new Gate led the Mind Flayer reawaken his particle that was inside of Will Byers, despite the Gate being partially opened.

Once the Mind Flayer reestablished his connection to his particle, he possessed swarms of rats in the abandoned Brimborn Steel Works as he could not act in the human world without a host. Once the Mind Flayer had taken over the bodies of thousands of rats, he had the rats consume different types of chemicals. The Mind Flayer would then have the rats explode into bloody puddles of biomass to create a physical body for himself so he can operate in the real world. However, the Mind Flayer realized the rats were not enough to complete his avatar so he began to sought for bigger hosts, mainly humans. When Billy Hargrove drove by the steel works, the Mind Flayer caused him to crash his car where he dragged Billy to the steel works' basement and possessed him.

After Billy became Flayed/possessed by the Mind Flayer, he kidnapped Heather Holloway and transported her to the steel works, where she subsequently became flayed. Eventually, dozens of people were flayed by the mind flayer, most of them were likely taken over through possessed rats, such as Doris Driscoll. When the time came, The Mind Flayer melted all the flayed (except for Billy) for absorption into The Spider Monster, and began to hunt down Eleven to attempt to flay her. The Mind Flayer nearly succeeded if she hadn't freed Billy from the Mind Flayer's possession. To save Eleven, Billy sacrificed himself by blocking one of the Mind Flayer's tentacles from reaching Eleven, which then caused The Mind Flayer to kill Billy. This allowed enough time for the rest of the group to launch fireworks at The Spider Monster, temporarily containing it until the Startcourt Mall Gate was closed, killing The Spider Monster.


The connection between the Upside Down and its opposite dimension was seemingly established when Eleven made contact with the Demogorgon using her psychic abilities, causing a gate to rip open in Hawkins National Laboratory. It contains the same locations and infrastructure as the human world, but it is much darker, colder and obscured by an omnipresent fog while ash-like spores drift through the air. It is devoid of human life, instead being overgrown with ropy, root-like tendrils and biological membranes covering practically every surface.

There is little proven knowledge concerning the Upside Down, as it remains shrouded in mystery. In spite of this, the dimension possesses a few observable properties and characteristics. Such as, light, gravity, and sound appear to function the same way as in the regular world. Furthermore, noise and sound originating from Hawkins is somehow faintly audible in the Upside Down, almost like an echo effect. This allows Will to hear Joyce's voice when he is trapped in the Upside Down; similarly, Joyce hears Jonathan's voice when she visits the dimension's version of her house. However, sound from the Upside Down is not seemingly audible in Hawkins, unless there is a nearby inter-dimensional portal which it can pass through. This is demonstrated by the fact that Jonathan and Nancy were able to talk to each other when they were near one such portal[1], despite being in separate dimensions.

According to the scientists of Hawkins Lab, the atmosphere was toxic to humans, hence why they wore hazmat suits to enter the dimension. However, it seems the atmosphere is only damaging after prolonged exposure, as Nancy entered for a brief moment and showed no signs of damage, whereas Will was exposed to the air for a week and became very sick. This toxicity appears to also extend to the dimension’s flora and fauna. When a series of subterranean tunnels extending from the Upside Down began to spread and grow beneath Hawkins, they caused several farmers’ crops to rot overnight. Trees in the woodlands in close proximity to the affected farms were also observed to have the same rot. When Hopper explored the aforementioned tunnels, he was sprayed in the face by a growth on the ceiling, causing him to lose consciousness almost immediately and upon waking up, vomit a black substance.

Mike, Lucas, and Dustin's theories on the Upside Down are primarily based on their knowledge from Dungeons & Dragons, calling the Upside Down, the Vale of Shadows. At one point, Eleven, who appears to have instinctual knowledge of the Upside Down, flips their D&D game board upside-down, before placing Will's player piece on top along with the Demogorgon's. Mike eventually realizes that Eleven is essentially explaining that Will is trapped in an alternate realm hidden from sight but inherently connected with their own, just like the underside of the game board. This analogy later inspires the boys to refer to this realm as "the Upside Down". Dustin compares the Upside Down to the fictional "Vale of Shadows", of Dungeons & Dragons lore. Mike's notes on the Vale refer to it as "a dimension that is a dark reflection, or echo, of total av wiki - Crack Key For U world. It is a place of decay and death, a plane out of phase, a place of monsters. It is right next to you and you do not even see it".[2]

When it was discovered that everything within the dimension is part of a hive intelligence controlled by the shadow monster, they compared the entity to the Mind Flayer, a being from D&D that is said to travel across and take over different dimensions. This led them to theorize that the shadow monster had the same goal. If this theory is true, then it can be inferred that the Upside Down was once like the human world, but the shadow monster was somehow able to infiltrate the dimension and successfully take it over. If so, then the invasion had to have happened somewhat recently, considering such structures like Castle Byers are present.

The Upside Down affects the electromagnetic field of the human world, often causing electricity and electronics to malfunction. This was the reason Will could manipulate the lights precisely in order to communicate with Joyce, despite the lights not being visible in the Upside Down.[3] This same effect could be seen when Joyce and Hopper were in the Upside Down; when they passed through the Byers' house, the Christmas lights in the regular world would glow, matching their corresponding location. Will also made the telephone ring and was slightly heard through noise and static, but it broke as the Demogorgon approached. Similarly, when the Demogorgon created inter-dimensional portals, the lights would flicker frantically. On a larger scale, the Gate's opening caused power surges all over East Hawkins, and was strong enough to distort the local magnetic field, causing compasses to point to the laboratory instead of true north.

When the boys ask their science teacher, Mr. Clarke, about different dimensions, he refers to Hugh Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation, which posits that "parallel universes" exist - which he explains as being "just like our world, but just. infinite variations of it". Going by this logic, the Upside Down could be one of these many variations.


The Upside Down contains no life recognizable to humans beyond plants and trees, instead harboring its own unique biology and ecosystem. Biological growth of various kinds, such as tendrils and flesh-like membranes, are prevalent across the dimension's version of Hawkins, permeating and covering most surfaces. These life forms appear to grow and spread in a similar fashion to fungi or plant life.

The Mind Flayer

Main article: The Mind Flayer

Presumably, all biological growth and organisms present in the dimension are part of a hive mind controlled by an enormous entity known as the Mind Flayer. Because of this, the entire dimension is virtually a giant superorganism. The Mind Flayer used his influence to spread the Upside Down’s biological matter through the Gate. Mike, Lucas, and Dustin theorized his reason for doing this was to eventually take over the entire world. If this theory holds true, it is very likely the Mind Flayer had done the same to the dimension that he currently resides in, and therefore responsible for the Upside Down’s current state.

The Mind Flayer has one glaring weakness: heat, especially fire. Everything connected in his hive mind shares this weakness. As a result, if a host is burned, the Mind Flayer, as well as all other hosts, feel the pain. The scientists at Hawkins Lab used this weakness to their advantage, periodically burning biological matter seeping from the Gate in order to contain the growth. This weakness was also exploited in order to rid Will of the Mind Flayer’s possession.


Main article: Demogorgon (species)

Humanoid predators, known as Demogorgons, reside in this dimension and are a powerful and dangerous part of the Mind Flayer’s army. The creatures have a six stage life cycle that is somewhat similar to amphibian species. They begin life as small slug-like creatures, and molt several times before emerging as an adult. So far, only two fully grown Demogorgons has been seen: the one that attacked Hawkins in 1983 and one at the Soviet Gulag, Kamchatka in 1985. The one at Hawkins would take captured victims to the alternate version of the public library, which housed something resembling a nest. The exact reason for this is unclear, but considering Demogorgon larvae were observed to be inhabiting the bodies of at least two of the Demogorgon’s victims (Will and Barb), it can be surmised it was for reproductive purposes.

In 1984, the Mind Flayer unleashed a pack of adolescent Demogorgons, referred to as “Demodogs”, throughout the town. When they overran the lab, they killed several scientists and soldiers, as well as Bob Newby. All Demodogs were killed when the Gate was closed.

In 1985, the Russian Demogorgon was being used as a means to execute political prisoners by the Soviets at Kamchatka Red Army Base, Soviet Gulag.


Main article: Hawkins tunnel system

By 1984, a series of tunnels based near the Gate had formed. These tunnels were not made from earth and were essentially one enormous creature. Their purpose was to serve as the medium by which the Upside Down would take over the human world.[4] The conditions in the tunnels were exactly like the Upside Down’s, with a toxic atmosphere, spores floating through the air, and vines and tendrils covering every surface.

As the tunnels expanded beneath Hawkins, they caused the deterioration of crops and other plant life. Eventually, an entire section of the tunnels served as a "graveyard" where animals were consumed. They were also noted to go around any bodies of water. When the Gate was closed, the tunnels, as well as all matter originating from the Upside Down within them, died.


Spores filled the atmosphere of the Upside Down, perpetually drifting through the air. After the Gate opened at Hawkins Lab, spores began to float in the corridors. The spores were also present in the tunnels. A growth found on the ceiling of the tunnels could produce a sort of “spore-spray”. This spray appears to be highly toxic, as Hopper collapsed almost immediately after he was spraying directly in the face, and vomited at least twice.

Known visitors

*Did not enter the dimension itself; only explored the tunnels.

Behind the scenes


Like the Demogorgon, the Upside Down was designed by Aaron Sims Creative. In early development, there was consideration of time changes between the Upside Down and the regular world. Meaning, if it was daytime in Hawkins, it would've been nighttime in the other dimension and vice versa. In the end, they chose an all around dark, nightmarish design.[5]

The Duffers named Alien and Silent Hill as inspirations for the Upside Down. Sims was also influenced by the works of the Polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski, whose works often depicted ".an otherworldly, hellish world, surrounded by a thin layer of something we can’t quite make out." Sims didn't base designs on any scientific theory of alternate dimensions, but around “the exploration of terrifying images and art.” Taking the idea of mold and the film that covers things that have decayed, they sought to create an image of a world that was basically "dead." The falling ash-like spores were designed with the intent to help viewers visually distinguish between the two worlds. The spores were also hinted as possibly being connected to the Demogorgon.[5]


The Duffers have revealed that they have a 30-page document that intricately explains the Upside Down. While the lack of what has been revealed regarding the dimension's mythology is due in part to time constraints, they have also noted to intentionally keep details scarce. In order to preserve the mystery and horror, they deliberately keep most knowledge of the Upside Down from the point of view of the characters. Matt explained that “it’s scarier when you don’t fully understand what’s happening.” What is revealed also depends on the story. For instance, the Duffers wanted the first season to have a simple drive, focusing mostly on Will’s disappearance, while hinting at the larger mythology behind the Total av wiki - Crack Key For U and the Upside Down. [6]

However, they are sure to not let logic dictate all of their decisions. As long as it’s not cheating the audience and feels like it belongs in their world, the Duffers often use ideas that simply excite them. Explaining any gaps in the mythology that arise is not their greatest concern.[7]


  • Joyce's way of communicating with Will through the lights and hearing him in the Traktor Pro Keygen of the house is an allusion to the 1982 horror film Poltergeist, in which young Carol Anne goes missing in another dimension and can be heard through the TV and walls. Also similar to Joyce, Carol Anne's mother ended up entering the other dimension to save her child.
  • In the original script the Upside Down was referred to as the Nether (although Upside Down was still the name the characters used in dialogue). The popularity of the in-universe nickname on the set led to it being referred to almost exclusively by that name instead.[8]



The Demogorgon in the Upside Down.

Joyce and Hopper in the Upside Down.

The Flea and the Acrobat - the Monster feeds
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Concept Art



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Assassin's Creed Valhalla Wiki Guide

IGN has the tips and tricks, strategies, and secrets you need to succeed in Assassin's Creed Valhalla. While certain elements have remained the same as they were in previous Assassin's Creed games, Valhalla has brought many new mechanics that may take some getting used to.

Watch 16 Tips for Assassin's Creed Valhalla in the video above

  • Unlike previous Assassin's Creed games, most collectible items and points of interest are divided up into three categories: Wealth (ingots, abilities, and weapons), Mysteries (side quests and puzzles or challenges), and Artifacts (cosmetics and treasure maps)
  • Your raven does not reveal enemy locations and automatically mark them as red like birds did in previous Assassins Creed games. You can, however, manually mark spots while flying as a raven to make finding them as Eivor easier. Note that an early skill in the Wolf Tree can also make detecting enemies easier.
  • Many doors are barred on one side - use Odin Sense to detect the red barricades on the other side. This usually means there’s an alternate entrance - either through the windows, a breakable roof, or underground. Some barricades can even be destroyed by sniping through cracks in the walls.
  • You’re likely going to find a lot of locked doors in your travels (these won't have red barricades on the opposite side) - but keys should always be nearby. Your raven can detect if a particular enemy is carrying a key - if you can’t detect one, it might be the reward of a nearby World Event.
  • To loot Wealth during a raid, you’ll often need a crew mate to help you either bust down a door that leads to Wealth or to actually open a chest with Wealth within. This means two things: you’ll need to defend your crew mates to keep them alive (and revive them when they go down) and you’ll need to clear the enemies in an area near Wealth so that your crew mates can help you actually get the Wealth.
  • Not all wealth like supplies are found at raiding targets - smaller amounts can be found in small chests that appear as tiny gold dots on the map. These don't count to the collectible wealth total of a region, but are worth collecting to help upgrade your gear and your settlement.
  • If you’re low on health in combat and out of Rations, run around the area you’re fighting in to find berries or other foods in the area to restore your health. After you’ve restored your health, any food collected will count toward your Rations meter.
  • Throughout the world, you’ll find walls that can be broken. If there’s a nearby red pot, shoot it with an arrow to cause an explosion that hopefully destroys the breakable wall. If you can’t find any, you can also try using the Incendiary Powder Trap ability if you’ve unlocked it, which fires explosive arrows. Use this ability on the wall to destroy it.
  • The more you expand your skill tree, the more likely you are to invest in skills that increase the properties of gear of a certain type. Get the most out of these upgrades by having your gear compliment your skills and try to equip a single type - the Bear, the Wolf, or the Raven.
  • Eivor won't have much variety in combat to begin with - prioritize seeking out Books of Knowledge to learn abilities that use Adrenaline, and unlock central Skills in the Skill Tree for perks that don't require Adrenaline at all.
  • Eivor has a blue meter that marks their stamina, but it doesn't work quite the way you think. You can still dash along without getting tired, but repeated dodging, holding block, or unleashing heavy strikes or off-hand attacks will lower your stamina. Losing all your stamina can make evading attacks harder, so know when to stop pressing the attack and back off before you get caught by a counter-attack.
  • Upgrading your Settlement isn't just for looks - you'll be able to unlock new quests and features this way. Some items you find like animal parts or roman artifacts can't be traded in until you've built up the right places.
  • While you end up leaving Norway early on in the story, you can actually return at any time by hitting the Atlas button in the world map.
  • If you see an icon for a secret entrance on your map, always check them out, as they often lead to treasure you can’t reach normally. If your raven detects something under the ground that you can’t reach - secret entrances are likely the place to reach them.
  • You can call your longship to you at any time as long as you’re near water — hold down on the d-pad and select it on your wheel using the right stick. This is useful for quick, watery getaways and when you’ve left your boat far from your current location.
  • You can mark multiple things on your map. This is especially useful when you notice that on the way to a quest, there are multiple points of interest like a Wealth location or a World Event.
  • Not every point of interest will appear on your map just by synchronizing on a high view point. Some must be uncovered by exploring - or speaking to wandering information broker NPCs who have a ? Over their heads and paying to reveal what a dot on the map’s true reward.
  • Points of interest often cluster around larger monasteries you can raid, or towns you can visit. Sometimes, a town will provide new world events or minigames after you've helped allies in the area take it over.
  • Even if your overall power level doesn't reach the heights of a neighboring region, you can still explore them - just don't wander into any enemy camps.
  • Enemies come in many different types across Valhalla from Saxons to Danes to creepy cult warriors. Not only will they brandish different weapons, they'll use them in unique ways, like a spearman leading a heavy attack charge, or a viking swapping from a two-handed axe to dual hammers. As you encounter new enemy types, learn which moves they are capable of employing to know when to dodge and when to stand your ground and parry several strikes in a row.
  • Fire can hurt a lot if you aren’t expecting it. Douse it quickly by holding the dodge button to perform a roll.
  • Every enemy has a ranged weak point, indicated by an orange spot when aiming at them with a bow. This can help you pierce the defenses of particularly tough foes, as it will often make them vulnerable to stun attacks.
  • Don't underestimate the value of stunning your opponents with heavy strikes or a well timed series of last second parrying. Most regular fighters can be dispatched as soon as you've fully stunned them, and even bosses can be stunned once by full depleting their segmented meters for a juicy hit that can help turn the tide - but they can only be stunned once!
  • Certain skills in the Skill Tree can massively boost your potential with certain playstyles. Try out dual wielding heavy weapons, using chain assassinations, or picking off targets with a ranged stun finisher.
  • Most enemies have a power level that’s equivalent to the region’s power, but there are some exceptions. Certain bosses and wandering Zealots will indicate their power, which may be well over your own, so engage cautiously!
  • While you can actually sneak up and engage raiding targets by yourself, don’t forget that your raiding crew is indispensable, and required to loot the bigger cargo hauls needed to upgrade your camp.
  • You hold left on the d-pad to whistle for your horse, but if you tap left on the d-pad, Eivor will let out a quick whistle that’s great at bringing enemies toward your direction. Use this whistle to lure them toward you so that you can assassinate them.
  • You don’t have to discover every clue about an Order of the Ancients member to kill them. If you think you know where they are, or if you’ve actually spotted one, feel free to take them out.
  • Some combat sites have clusters of purple mushrooms growing alongside other food sources - but these mushrooms will give extra adrenaline.
  • You can parry an enemy attack with any weapon — you don’t need a shield. However, if you time the parry wrong, the enemy’s attack will damage you. If you use a shield, you can mess up parry timing but still block the attack.
  • Enemies that use heavy attacks which glow orange can still be blocked and parried, but can sometimes continue with multiple slow hits that will require you to consecutively parry to raise their stun meter.
  • Certain weapons held in two hands or your off-hand have alternate attacks when you hold the block button down, just remember not to hold it down if you're trying to parry incoming attacks.
  • There are many situations where you may be forced into 1 on 1 combat with mighty enemies. Take the time to carefully watch the moves they use: which ones can be blocked, which need to be dodged, and potential openings to parry or strike back.
  • If a boss enemy is giving you trouble, try switching weapon types, or using a shield if you find yourself taking too much damage. Some enemies need to be cautiously parried until they can be stunned to deal massive damage.

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Malicious software used in ransom demands

Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's personal data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system so that it is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. It encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.[1][2][3][4] In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as paysafecard or Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult.

Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the WannaCry worm, traveled automatically between computers without user interaction.[5]

Starting as early as 1989 with the first documented ransomware known as the AIDS trojan, the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally.[6][7][8] There were 181.5 total av wiki - Crack Key For U ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018. This record marks a 229% increase over this same time frame in 2017.[9] In June 2014, vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected more than double the number of ransomware samples that quarter than it had in the same quarter of the previous year.[10]CryptoLocker was particularly successful, procuring an estimated US$3 million before it was taken down by authorities,[11] and CryptoWall was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have accrued over US$18 million by June 2015.[12] In 2020, the IC3 received 2,474 complaints identified as ransomware with adjusted losses of over $29.1 million. The losses could be more than that according to FBI.[13]


The concept of file-encrypting ransomware was invented and implemented by Young and Yung at Columbia University and was presented at the 1996 IEEE Security & Privacy conference. It is called cryptoviral extortion and it was inspired by the fictional facehugger in the movie Alien.[14] Cryptoviral extortion is the following three-round protocol carried out between the attacker and the victim.[1]

  1. [attackervictim] The attacker generates a key pair and places the asquared anti malware - Activators Patch public key in the malware. The malware is released.
  2. [victimattacker] To carry out the cryptoviral extortion attack, the malware generates a random symmetric key and encrypts the victim's data with it. It uses the public key in the malware to encrypt the symmetric key. This is known as hybrid encryption and it results in a small asymmetric ciphertext as well as the symmetric ciphertext of the victim's data. It zeroizes the symmetric key and the original plaintext data to prevent recovery. It puts up a message to the user that includes the asymmetric ciphertext and how to pay the ransom. The victim sends the asymmetric ciphertext and e-money to the attacker.
  3. [attackervictim] The attacker receives the payment, deciphers the asymmetric ciphertext with the attacker's private key, and sends the symmetric key to the victim. The victim deciphers the encrypted data with the needed symmetric key thereby completing the cryptovirology attack.

The symmetric key is randomly generated and will not assist other victims. At no point is the attacker's private key exposed to victims and the victim need only send a very small ciphertext (the encrypted symmetric-cipher key) to the attacker.

Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan, entering a system through, for example, a malicious attachment, embedded link in a Phishing email, or a vulnerability in a network service. The program then runs a payload, which locks the system in some fashion, or claims to lock the system but does not (e.g., a scareware program). Payloads may display a fake warning purportedly by an entity such as a law enforcement agency, falsely claiming that the system has been used for illegal activities, contains content such as pornography and "pirated" media.[15][16][17]

Some payloads consist simply of an application designed to lock or restrict the system until payment is made, typically by setting the Windows Shell to itself,[18] or even modifying the master boot record and/or partition table to prevent the operating system from booting until it is repaired.[19] The most sophisticated payloads encrypt files, with many using strong encryption to encrypt the victim's files in such a way that only the malware author has the needed decryption key.[1][20][21]

Payment is virtually always the goal, and the victim is coerced into paying for the ransomware to be removed either by supplying a program that can decrypt the files, or by sending an unlock code that undoes the payload's changes. While the attacker may simply take the money without returning the victim's files, it is in the attacker's best interest to perform the decryption as agreed, since victims will stop sending payments if it becomes known that they serve no purpose. A key element in making ransomware work for the attacker is a convenient payment system that is hard to trace. A range of such payment methods have been used, including wire transfers, premium-rate text messages,[22] pre-paid voucher services such as paysafecard,[6][23][24] and the Bitcoincryptocurrency.[25][26][27]

In May 2020, vendor Sophos reported that the global average cost to remediate a ransomware attack (considering downtime, people time, device cost, network cost, lost opportunity and ransom paid) was $761,106. Ninety-five percent of organizations that paid the ransom winrar for windows 7 their data restored.[28]


See also: History of computer viruses and History of malware

Encrypting ransomware[edit]

The first known malware extortion attack, the "AIDS Trojan" written by Joseph Popp in 1989, had a design failure so severe it was not necessary to pay the extortionist at all. Its payload hid the files on the hard drive and encrypted only their names, and displayed a message claiming that the user's license to use a certain piece of software had expired. The user was asked to pay US$189 to "PC Cyborg Corporation" in order to obtain a repair tool even though the decryption key could be extracted from the code of the Trojan. The Trojan was also known as "PC Cyborg". Popp was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for his actions, but he promised to donate the profits from the malware to fund AIDS research.[29]

The idea of abusing anonymous cash systems auslogics boostspeed portable safely collect ransom from human kidnapping was introduced in 1992 by Sebastiaan von Solms and David Naccache.[30] This electronic money collection method was also proposed for cryptoviral extortion attacks.[1] In the von Solms-Naccache scenario a newspaper publication was used (since bitcoin ledgers did not exist at the time the paper was written).

The notion of using public key cryptography for data kidnapping attacks was introduced in 1996 by Adam L. Young and Moti Yung. Young and Yung critiqued the failed AIDS Information Trojan that relied on symmetric cryptography alone, the fatal flaw being that the decryption key could be extracted from the Trojan, and implemented an experimental proof-of-concept cryptovirus on a Macintosh SE/30 that used RSA and the Tiny Encryption Algorithm (TEA) to hybrid encrypt the victim's data. Since public key cryptography is used, the virus only contains the encryption key. The attacker keeps the corresponding private decryption key private. Young and Yung's original experimental cryptovirus had the victim send the asymmetric ciphertext to the attacker who deciphers it and returns the symmetric decryption key it contains to the victim for a fee. Long before electronic money existed Young and Yung proposed that electronic money could be extorted through encryption as well, stating that "the virus writer can effectively hold all of the money ransom until half of it is given to him. Even if the e-money was previously encrypted by the user, it is of no use to the user if it gets encrypted by a cryptovirus".[1] They referred to these attacks as being "cryptoviral extortion", an overt attack that is part of a larger class of attacks in a field called cryptovirology, which encompasses both overt and covert total av wiki - Crack Key For U The cryptoviral extortion protocol was inspired by the parasitic relationship between H. R. Giger's facehugger and its host in the movie Alien.[1][14]

Examples of extortionate ransomware became prominent in May 2005.[31] By mid-2006, Trojans such as Gpcode, TROJ.RANSOM.A, Archiveus, Krotten, Cryzip, and MayArchive began utilizing more sophisticated RSA encryption schemes, with ever-increasing key-sizes. Gpcode.AG, which was detected in June 2006, was encrypted with a 660-bit RSA public key.[32] In June 2008, a variant known as Gpcode.AK was detected. Using a 1024-bit RSA key, it was believed large enough to be computationally infeasible to break without a concerted distributed effort.[33][34][35][36]

Encrypting ransomware returned to prominence in late 2013 with the propagation of CryptoLocker—using the Bitcoindigital currency platform to collect ransom money. In December 2013, ZDNet estimated based on Bitcoin transaction information that between 15 October and 18 December, the operators of CryptoLocker had procured about US$27 million from infected users.[37] The CryptoLocker technique was widely copied in the months following, including CryptoLocker 2.0 (thought not to be related to CryptoLocker), CryptoDefense (which initially contained a major design flaw that stored the private key on the infected system in a user-retrievable location, due to its use of Windows' built-in encryption APIs),[26][38][39][40] and the August 2014 discovery of a Trojan specifically targeting network-attached storage devices produced by Synology.[41] In January 2015, it was reported that ransomware-styled attacks have occurred against individual websites via hacking, and through ransomware designed to target Linux-based web servers.[42][43][44]

In some infections, there is a two-stage payload, common in many malware systems. The user is tricked into running a script, which downloads the main virus and executes it. In early versions of the dual-payload system, the script was contained in a Microsoft Office document with an attached VBScript macro, or in a windows scripting facility (WSF) file. As detection systems started blocking these first stage payloads, the Microsoft Malware Protection Center identified a trend away toward LNK files with self-contained Microsoft Windows PowerShell scripts.[45] In 2016, PowerShell was found to be involved in nearly 40% of endpoint security incidents,[46]

Some ransomware strains have used proxies tied to Torhidden services to connect to their command and control servers, increasing the difficulty of tracing the exact location of the criminals.[47][48] Furthermore, dark web vendors have increasingly started to offer the technology as a service, wherein ransomware is sold, ready for deployment on victims' machines, on a subscription basis, similarly to Adobe Creative Cloud or Office 365.[48][49][50]

Symantec has classified ransomware to be the most dangerous cyber threat.[51]

On 28 September 2020, the computer systems at US’ biggest healthcare provider the Universal Health Services, was hit by a ransomware attack. The UHS chain from different locations reported noticing problems, with some locations reporting locked computers and phone systems from early Sunday (27 September).[52][51]

Non-encrypting ransomware[edit]

In August 2010, Russian authorities arrested nine individuals connected to a ransomware Trojan known as WinLock. Unlike the previous Gpcode Trojan, WinLock did not use encryption. Instead, WinLock trivially restricted access to the system by displaying pornographic images and asked users to send a premium-rate SMS (costing around US$10) to receive a code that could be used to unlock their machines. The scam hit numerous users across Russia and neighbouring countries—reportedly earning the group over US$16 million.[17][53]

In 2011, a ransomware Trojan surfaced that imitated the Windows Product Activation notice, and informed users that a system's Windows installation had to be re-activated due to "[being a] victim of fraud". An online activation option was offered (like the actual Windows activation process), but was unavailable, requiring the user to call one of six international numbers to input a 6-digit code. While the malware claimed that this call would be free, it was routed through a rogue operator in a country with high international phone rates, who placed the call on hold, causing the user to incur large international long distance charges.[15]

In February 2013, a ransomware Trojan based on the Stamp.EK exploit kit surfaced; the malware was distributed via sites hosted on the project hosting services SourceForge and GitHub that claimed to offer "fake nude pics" of celebrities.[54] In July 2013, an OS X-specific ransomware Trojan surfaced, which displays a web page that accuses the user of downloading pornography. Unlike its Windows-based counterparts, it does not block the entire computer, but simply exploits the behaviour of the web browser itself to frustrate attempts to close the page through normal means.[55]

In July 2013, a 21-year-old man from Virginia, whose computer coincidentally did contain pornographic photographs of underage girls with whom he had conducted sexualized communications, turned himself in to police after receiving and being deceived by FBI MoneyPak Ransomware accusing him of possessing child pornography. An investigation discovered the incriminating files, and the man was charged with child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.[56]

Exfiltration (Leakware / Doxware)[edit]

The converse of ransomware is a cryptovirology attack invented by Adam L. Young that threatens to publish stolen information from the victim's computer system rather than deny the victim access to it.[57] In a leakware attack, malware exfiltrates sensitive host data either to the attacker or alternatively, to remote instances of the malware, and the attacker threatens to publish the victim's data unless a ransom is paid. The attack was presented at West Point in 2003 and was summarized in the book Malicious Cryptography as follows, "The attack differs from the extortion attack in the following way. In the extortion attack, the victim is denied access to its own valuable information and has to pay to get it back, where in the attack that is presented here the victim retains access to the information but its disclosure is at the discretion of the computer virus".[58] The attack is rooted in game theory and was originally dubbed "non-zero sum games and survivable malware". The attack can yield monetary gain in cases where the malware acquires access to information that may damage the victim user or organization, e.g., the reputational damage that could result from publishing proof that the attack itself was a success.

Common targets for exfiltration include:

  • third party information stored by the primary victim (such as customer account information or health records);
  • information proprietary to the victim (such as trade secrets and product information)
  • embarrassing information (such as the victim's health information or information about the victim's personal past)

Exfiltration attacks are usually targeted, with a curated victim list, and often preliminary surveillance of the victim's systems to find potential data targets and weaknesses.[59][60]

Mobile ransomware[edit]

With the increased popularity of ransomware on PC platforms, ransomware targeting mobile operating systems has also proliferated. Typically, mobile ransomware payloads are blockers, as there is little incentive to encrypt data since it can be easily restored via online synchronization.[61] Mobile ransomware typically targets the Android platform, as it allows applications to be installed from third-party sources.[61][62] The payload is typically distributed as an APK file installed by an unsuspecting user; it may attempt to display a blocking message over top of all other applications,[62] while another used a form of clickjacking to cause the user to give it "device administrator" privileges to achieve deeper access total av wiki - Crack Key For U the system.[63]

Different tactics have been used on iOS devices, such as exploiting iCloud accounts and using the Find My iPhone system to lock access to the device.[64] On iOS 10.3, Apple patched a bug in the handling of JavaScript pop-up windows in Safari that had been exploited by ransomware websites.[65] It recently[when?] has been shown that ransomware may also target ARM architectures like those that can be found in various Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, such as Industrial IoT edge devices.[66]

In August 2019 researchers demonstrated it's possible to infect DSLR cameras with ransomware.[67] Digital cameras often use Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP - standard protocol used to transfer files.) Researchers found that it was possible to exploit vulnerabilities in the protocol to infect target camera(s) with ransomware (or execute any arbitrary code). This attack was presented at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas as a proof of concept attack (not as actual armed malware).

Notable attack targets[edit]

Further information: List of cyberattacks § Ransomware attacks

Notable software packages[edit]


In 2012, a major ransomware Trojan known as Reveton began to spread. Based on the Citadel Trojan (which itself, is based on the Zeus Trojan), its payload displays a warning purportedly from a law enforcement agency claiming that the computer has been used for illegal activities, such as downloading unlicensed software or child pornography. Due to this behaviour, it is commonly referred to as the "Police Trojan".[68][69][70] The warning informs the user that to unlock their system, they would have to pay a fine using a voucher from an anonymous prepaid cash service such as Ukash or paysafecard. To increase the illusion that the computer is being tracked by law enforcement, the screen also displays the computer's IP address, while some versions display footage from a victim's webcam to give the illusion that the user is being recorded.[6][71]

Reveton initially began spreading in various European countries in early 2012.[6] Variants were localized with templates branded with the logos of different law enforcement organizations based on the user's country; for example, variants used in the United Kingdom contained the branding of organizations such as the Metropolitan Police Service and the Police National E-Crime Unit. Another version contained the logo of the royalty collection societyPRS for Music, which specifically accused the user of illegally downloading music.[72] In a statement warning the public about the malware, the Metropolitan Police clarified that they would never lock a computer in such a way as part of an investigation.[6][16]

In May 2012, Trend Micro threat researchers discovered templates for variations for the United States and Canada, suggesting that its authors may have been planning to target users in North America.[73] By August 2012, a new variant of Reveton began to spread in the United States, claiming to require the payment of a $200 fine to the FBI using a MoneyPak card.[7][8][71] In February 2013, a Russian citizen was arrested in Dubai by Spanish authorities for his connection to a crime ring that had been using Reveton; ten other individuals were arrested on money laundering charges.[74] In August 2014, Avast Software reported that it had found new variants of Reveton that also distribute password-stealing malware as part of its payload.[75]


Main article: CryptoLocker

Encrypting ransomware reappeared in September 2013 with a Trojan known as CryptoLocker, which generated a 2048-bit RSA key pair and uploaded in turn to a command-and-control server, and used to encrypt files using a whitelist of specific file extensions. The malware threatened to delete the private key if a payment of Bitcoin or a pre-paid cash voucher was not made within 3 days of the infection. Due to the extremely large key size it uses, analysts and those affected by the Trojan considered CryptoLocker extremely difficult to repair.[25][76][77][78] Even after the deadline passed, the private key could still be obtained using an online tool, but the price would increase to 10 BTC—which cost approximately US$2300 as of November 2013.[79][80]

CryptoLocker was isolated by the seizure of the Gameover ZeuSbotnet as part of Operation Tovar, as officially announced by the U.S. Department of Justice on 2 June 2014. The Department of Justice also publicly issued an indictment against the Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev for his alleged involvement in the botnet.[81][82] It was estimated that at least US$3 million was extorted with the malware before the shutdown.[11]

CryptoLocker.F and TorrentLocker[edit]

In September 2014, a wave of ransomware Trojans surfaced that first targeted users in Australia, under the names CryptoWall and CryptoLocker (which is, as with CryptoLocker 2.0, unrelated to the original CryptoLocker). The Trojans spread via fraudulent e-mails claiming to be failed parcel delivery notices from Australia Post; to evade detection by automatic e-mail scanners that follow all links on a page to scan for malware, this variant was designed to require users to visit a web page and enter a code before the payload is actually downloaded, preventing such automated processes from being able to scan the payload. Symantec determined that these new variants, which it identified as CryptoLocker.F, were again, unrelated to the original CryptoLocker due to differences in their operation.[83][84] A notable victim of the Trojans was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; live programming on its television news channelABC News 24 was disrupted for half an hour and shifted to Melbourne studios due to a CryptoWall infection on computers at its Sydney studio.[85][86][87]

Another Trojan in this wave, TorrentLocker, initially contained a design flaw comparable to CryptoDefense; it used the same keystream for every infected computer, making the encryption trivial to overcome. However, this flaw was later fixed.[38] By late-November 2014, it was estimated that over 9,000 users had been infected by TorrentLocker in Australia alone, trailing only Turkey with 11,700 infections.[88]


Another major ransomware Trojan targeting Windows, CryptoWall, first appeared in 2014. One strain of CryptoWall was distributed as part of a malvertising campaign on the Zedo ad network in late-September 2014 that targeted several major websites; the ads redirected to rogue websites that used browser plugin exploits to download the payload. A Barracuda Networks researcher also noted that the payload was signed with a digital signature in an effort to appear trustworthy to security software.[89] CryptoWall 3.0 used a payload written in JavaScript as part of an email attachment, which downloads executables disguised as JPG images. To further evade detection, the malware creates new instances of explorer.exe and svchost.exe to communicate with its servers. When encrypting files, the malware also deletes volume shadow copies and installs spyware that steals passwords and Bitcoin wallets.[90]

The FBI reported in June 2015 that nearly 1,000 victims had contacted the bureau's Internet Crime Complaint Center to report CryptoWall infections, and estimated losses of at least $18 million.[12]

The most recent version, CryptoWall 4.0, enhanced its code to avoid antivirus detection, and encrypts not only the data in files but also the file names.[91]


Fusob is one of the major mobile ransomware families. Between April 2015 and March 2016, about 56 percent of accounted mobile ransomware was Fusob.[92]

Like a typical mobile ransomware, it employs scare tactics to extort people to pay a ransom.[93] The program pretends to be an accusatory authority, demanding the victim to pay a fine from $100 to $200 USD or otherwise face a fictitious charge. Rather surprisingly, Fusob suggests using iTunes gift cards for payment. Also, a timer clicking down on the screen adds to the users’ anxiety as well.

In order to infect devices, Fusob masquerades as a pornographic video player. Thus, victims, thinking it is harmless, unwittingly download Fusob.[94]

When Fusob is installed, it first checks the language used in the device. If it uses Russian or certain Eastern European languages, Fusob does nothing. Otherwise, it proceeds on to lock the device and demand ransom. Among victims, about 40% of them are in Germany with the United Kingdom and the United States following with 14.5% and 11.4% respectively.

Fusob has lots in common with Small, which is another major family of mobile ransomware. They represented over 93% of mobile ransomware between 2015 and 2016.


Main article: WannaCry ransomware attack

In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack spread through the Internet, using an exploit vector named EternalBlue, which was allegedly leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. The ransomware attack, unprecedented in scale,[95] infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries,[96] using 20 different languages to demand money from users using Bitcoin cryptocurrency. WannaCry demanded US$300 per computer.[97] The attack affected Telefónica and several other large companies in Spain, as well as parts of the British National Health Service (NHS), where at least 16 hospitals had to turn away patients or cancel scheduled operations,[98]FedEx, Deutsche Bahn, Honda,[99]Renault, as well as the Russian Interior Ministry and Russian telecom MegaFon.[100] The attackers gave their victims a 7-day deadline from the day their computers got infected, after which the encrypted files would be deleted.[101]


Main article: Petya (malware)

See also: 2017 cyberattacks on Ukraine

Petya was first discovered in March 2016; unlike other forms of encrypting ransomware, the malware aimed to infect the master boot record, installing a payload which encrypts the file tables of the NTFS file system the next time that the infected system boots, blocking the system from booting into Windows at all until the ransom is paid. Check Point reported that despite what it believed to be an innovative evolution in ransomware design, it had resulted in relatively-fewer infections than other ransomware active around the same time frame.[102]

On 27 June 2017, a heavily modified version of Petya was used for a global cyberattack primarily targeting Ukraine (but affecting many countries[103]). This version had been modified to propagate using the same EternalBlue exploit that was used by WannaCry. Due to another design change, it is also unable to actually unlock a system after the ransom is paid; this led to security analysts speculating that the attack was not meant to generate illicit profit, but to simply cause disruption.[104][105]

Bad Rabbit[edit]

On 24 October 2017, some users in Russia and Ukraine reported a new ransomware attack, named "Bad Rabbit", which follows a similar pattern to WannaCry and Petya by encrypting the user's file tables and then demands a Bitcoin payment to decrypt them. ESET believed the ransomware to have been distributed by a bogus update to Adobe Flash software.[106] Among agencies that were affected by the ransomware were: Interfax, Odesa International Airport, Kyiv Metro, and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine.[107] As it used corporate network structures to spread, the ransomware was also discovered in other countries, including Turkey, Germany, Poland, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.[108] Experts believed the ransomware attack was tied to the Petya attack in Ukraine (especially because Bad Rabbit's code has many overlapping and analogical elements to the code of Petya/NotPetya,[109] appending to CrowdStrike Bad Rabbit and NotPetya's DLL (dynamic link library) share 67 percent of the same code[110]) though the only identity to the culprits are the names of characters from the Game of Thrones series embedded within the code.[108]

Security experts found that the ransomware did not use the EternalBlue exploit to spread, and a simple method to inoculate an unaffected machine running older Windows versions was found by 24 October 2017.[111][112] Further, the sites that had been used to spread the bogus Flash updating have gone offline or removed the problematic files within a few days of its discovery, effectively killing off the spread of Bad Rabbit.[108]


In 2016, a new strain of ransomware emerged that was targeting JBoss servers.[113] This strain, named "SamSam", was found to bypass the process of phishing or illicit downloads in favor of exploiting vulnerabilities on weak servers.[114] The malware uses a Remote Desktop Protocolbrute-force attack to guess weak passwords until one is broken. The virus has been behind attacks on government and healthcare targets, with notable hacks occurring against the town of Farmington, New Mexico, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Davidson County, North Carolina, and most recently, a major breach of security on the infrastructure of Atlanta.[114]

Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri (born in Qom, Iran in 1991) and Faramarz Shahi Savandi (born in Shiraz, Iran, in 1984) are wanted by the FBI for allegedly launching SamSam ransomware.[115] The two have allegedly made $6 million from extortion and caused over $30 million in damages using the malware.[116]


On May 7, 2021 a cyberattack was executed on the US Colonial Pipeline. The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified DarkSide as the perpetrator of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, perpetrated by malicious code, that led to a voluntary shutdown of the main pipeline supplying 45% of fuel to the East Coast of the United States. The attack was described as the worst cyberattack to date on U.S. critical infrastructure. DarkSide successfully extorted about 75 Bitcoin (almost US$5 million) from Colonial Pipeline. U.S. officials are investigating whether the attack was purely criminal or took place with the involvement of the Russian government or another state sponsor. Following the attack, DarkSide posted a statement claiming that "We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics.Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society."

On May 10, SentinelOne published an analysis of the DarkSide Ransomware attack.

In May 2021, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a joint alert urging the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to take certain steps to reduce their vulnerability to DarkSide ransomware and ransomware in general.


Syskey is a utility that was included with Windows NT-based operating systems to encrypt the user account database, optionally with a password. The tool has sometimes been effectively used as ransomware during technical support scams—where a caller with remote access to the computer may use the tool to lock the user out of their computer with a password known only to them.[117] Syskey was removed from later versions of Windows 10 and Windows Server in 2017, due to being obsolete and "known to be used by hackers as part of ransomware Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 3.5.1 Crack License key - Free Activators (RaaS) became a notable method after the Russia-based[120] or Russian-speaking[121] group REvil staged operations against several targets, including the Brazil-based JBS S.A. in May 2021, and the US-based Kaseya Limited in July 2021.[122] After a July 9, 2021 phone call between United States president Joe Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin, Biden told the press, "I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil even though it’s not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is." Biden later added that the United States would take the group's servers down if Putin did not.[123][124] Four days later, REvil websites and other infrastructure vanished from the internet.[125]


If an attack is suspected or detected in its early stages, it takes some time for encryption to take place; immediate removal of the malware (a relatively simple process) before it has completed would stop further damage to data, without salvaging any already lost.[126][127]

Security experts have suggested precautionary measures for dealing with ransomware. Using software or other security policies to block known payloads from launching will help to prevent infection, but will not protect against all attacks[25][128] As such, having a proper backup solution is a critical component to defending against ransomware. Note that, because many ransomware attackers will not only encrypt the victim's live machine but it will also attempt to delete any hot backups stored locally or on accessible over the network on a NAS, it's also critical to maintain "offline" backups of data stored in locations inaccessible from any potentially infected computer, such as external storage drives or devices that do not have any access to any network (including the Internet), prevents them from being accessed by the ransomware. Moreover, if using a NAS or Cloud storage, then the computer should have append-only permission to the destination storage, such that it cannot delete or overwrite previous backups. According to comodo, applying two Attack Surface Reduction on OS/Kernal provides materially reduced attack surface which results in heightened security posture.[129][130][131]

Installing security updates issued by software vendors can mitigate the vulnerabilities leveraged by certain strains to propagate.[132][133][134][135][136] Other measures include cyber hygiene − exercising caution when opening e-mail attachments and links, network segmentation, and keeping critical computers isolated from networks.[137][138] Furthermore, to mitigate the spread of ransomware measures of infection control can be applied.[139] Such may include disconnecting infected machines from all networks, educational programs,[140] effective communication channels, malware surveillance[original research?] and ways of collective participation[139]

File system defenses against ransomware[edit]

A number of file systems keep snapshots of the data they hold, which can be used to recover the contents of files from a time prior to the ransomware attack in the event the ransomware does not disable it.

  • On Windows, the Volume shadow copy (VSS) is often used to store backups of data; ransomware often targets total av wiki - Crack Key For U snapshots to prevent recovery and therefore it is often advisable to disable user access to the user tool VSSadmin.exe to reduce the risk that ransomware can disable or delete past copies.
  • On Windows 10, users can add specific directories or files to Controlled Folder Access in Windows Defender to protect them from ransomware.[141] It is advised to add backup and other important directories to Controlled Folder Access.
  • Unless malware gains root on the ZFS host system in deploying an attack coded to issue ZFS administrative commands, file servers running ZFS are broadly immune to ransomware, because ZFS is capable of snapshotting even a large file system many times an hour, and these snapshots are immutable (read only) and easily rolled back or files recovered in the event of data corruption.[142] In general, only an administrator can delete (but cannot modify) snapshots.

File decryption and recovery[edit]

There are a number of tools intended specifically to decrypt files locked by ransomware, although successful recovery may not be possible.[2][143] If the same encryption key is used for all files, decryption tools use files for which there are both uncorrupted backups and encrypted copies (a known-plaintext attack in the jargon of cryptanalysis. But, it only works when the cipher the attacker used was weak to begin with, being vulnerable to known-plaintext attack); recovery of the key, if it is possible, may take several days.[144] Free ransomware decryption tools can help decrypt files encrypted by the following forms of ransomware: AES_NI, Alcatraz Locker, Apocalypse, BadBlock, Bart, BTCWare, Crypt888, CryptoMix, CrySiS, EncrypTile, FindZip, Globe, Hidden Tear, Jigsaw, LambdaLocker, Legion, NoobCrypt, Stampado, SZFLocker, TeslaCrypt, XData.[145]

In addition, old copies of files may exist on the disk, which has been previously deleted. In some cases, these deleted versions may still be recoverable using software designed for that purpose.


Ransomware malicious software was first confined to one or two countries in Eastern Europe and subsequently spread across the Atlantic to the United States and Canada.[146] The number of cyberattacks during 2020 was double that of 2019.[147] The first versions of this type of malware used various techniques to disable the computers[146] by locking the victims system machine (Locker Ransomware) [133]. Ransomware uses different tactics to extort victims. One of the most common methods is locking the device's screen by displaying a message from a branch of local law enforcement alleging that the victim must pay a fine for illegal activity. The ransomware may request a payment by sending an SMS message to a premium rate number. Some similar variants of the malware display pornographic image content and demanded payment for the removal of it.[146]

By 2011 ransomware tactics had evolved. Attackers began using electronic payment methods as well as language localization to the affected device.

Corporations, private entities, governments, and hospitals can be affected by these malicious attacks. In 2016, a significant uptick in ransomware attacks on hospitals was noted. According to the 2017 Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec Corp, ransomware affected not only IT systems but also patient care, clinical operations, and billing. Online criminals may be motivated by the money available and sense of urgency within the healthcare system.[148]

Ransomware is growing rapidly across the internet users but also for the IoT environment[146] which creates a challenging problem to the INFOSEC while increasing the attack surface area. They are evolving into more sophisticated attacks and, they are becoming more resistant; at the same time, they are also more accessible than ever. Today, for a cheap price, the attackers have access to ransomware as a service. The big problem is that millions of dollars are lost by some organizations and industries that have decided to pay, such as the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and the MedStar Health.[149] At the end, the pressure to offer services to the patients and keep their lives is so critical that they are forced to pay, and the attacker knows that. The problem here is that by paying the ransom, they are funding the cybercrime.

According to Symantec 2019 ISTR report, for the first time since 2013, in 2018 there was an observed decrease in ransomware activity with a drop of 20 percent. Before 2017, consumers were the preferred victims, but in 2017 this changed dramatically, it moved to the enterprises. In 2018 this path accelerated with 81 percent infections which represented a 12 percent increase.[150] The common distribution method today is based on email campaigns.

The first reported death following a ransomware attack was at a German hospital in October 2020.[151]

An effective and successful cyber awareness training program must be sponsored from the top of the organization with supporting policies and procedures which effectively outline ramifications of non-compliance, frequency of training and a process for acknowledgement of training. Without sponsorship from the “C-level” executives the training cannot be ignored.  Other factors that are key to a successful Cyber Awareness Training program is to establish a baseline identifying the level of knowledge of the organization to establish where the users are in their knowledge prior to training and after. Whichever approach an organization decides to implement, it is important that the organization has policies and procedures in place that provide training that is up to date, performed frequently and has the backing of the entire organization from the top down.

Investment in technology to detect and stop these threats must be maintained, but along with that we need to remember and focus on our weakest link, which is the user.

Criminal arrests and convictions[edit]

Zain Qaiser[edit]

A British student, Zain Qaiser, from Barking, London was jailed for more than six years at Kingston Crown Court for his ransomware attacks in 2019.[152] He is said to have been "the most prolific cyber criminal to be sentenced in the UK". He became active when he was only 17. He contacted the Russian controller of one of the most powerful attacks, believed to be the Lurk malware gang, and arranged for a split of his profits. He also contacted online criminals from China and the US to move the money. For about one and a half years, he posed as a legitimate supplier of online promotions of book advertising on some of the world's most visited legal pornography websites. Each of the adverts that was promoted on the websites contained the Reveton Ransomware strain of the malicious Angler Exploit Kit (AEK)[153] that seized control of the machine. Investigators discovered about £700,000 of earnings, although his network may have earned more than £4m. He may have hidden some money using cryptocurrencies. The ransomware would instruct victims to buy GreenDot MoneyPak vouchers, and enter the code in the Reveton panel displayed on the screen. This money entered a MoneyPak account managed by Qaiser, who would then deposit the voucher payments into an American co-conspirator's debit card—that of Raymond Odigie Uadiale, who was then a student at Florida International University during 2012 and 2013 and later worked for Microsoft. Uadiale would convert the money into Liberty Reserve digital currency and deposit it into Qaiser's Liberty Reserve account.[154]

A breakthrough in this case occurred in May 2013 when authorities from several countries seized the Liberty Reserve servers, obtaining access to all its transactions and account history. Qaiser was running encrypted virtual machines on his Macbook Pro with both Mac and Windows operating systems.[155] He could not be tried earlier because he was sectioned under the UK Mental Health Act at Goodmayes Hospital (where he was found to be using the hospital Wi-Fi to access his advertising sites.) His lawyer claimed that Qaiser had suffered from mental illness.[152] Russian police arrested 50 members of the Lurk malware gang in June 2016.[156] Uadiale, a naturalized US citizen of Nigerian descent, was jailed for 18 months.[157]

Freedom of speech challenges and criminal punishment[edit]

The publication of proof-of-concept attack code is common among academic researchers and vulnerability researchers. It teaches the nature of the threat, conveys the gravity of the issues, and enables countermeasures to be devised and put into place. However, lawmakers with the support of law-enforcement bodies are contemplating making the creation of ransomware illegal. In the state of Maryland, the original draft of HB 340 made it a felony to create ransomware, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.[158] However, this provision was removed from the final version of the bill.[159] A minor in Japan was arrested for creating and distributing ransomware code.[160] Young and Yung have had the ANSI C source code to a ransomware cryptotrojan on-line, at, since 2005 as part of a cryptovirology book being written. The source code to the cryptotrojan is still live on the Internet and is associated with a draft of Chapter 2.[161]

See also[edit]


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