A recent study by cybersecurity firm Check Point found that over the past year, over a million of the world’s biggest chat networks have been infected with ransomware.
The malware is an “infiltration” that takes control of your computer and steals your private data, the researchers said in a blog post published Thursday.
This is a major escalation of the threat posed by ransomware, which is used for stealing money, credit cards, identity, and other sensitive information.
Check Point noted that “ransomware is not a new threat, but the scope and frequency of its usage in 2017 was unprecedented.”
The company also found that most of the top 20 chat networks were infected by ransomware in the first half of 2017.
This is not surprising, given that they were among the top 10 most popular chat networks in 2017.
In the six months prior to the analysis, the top 25 chat networks had seen a total of 1.7 million infections, Check Point said.
The researchers said that ransomware infected over 2.5 million of its top 20 networks during the period.
Of those infected, 1.2 million of them were the top chat networks and the rest were spread throughout the top 200, the company said.
As with other ransomware variants, Check Points analysis found that many of the infected users used phishing scams to trick the company into paying a ransom.
The hackers who took over the top twenty chat networks did so using a technique called “reverse phishing,” in which the attackers redirected the infected computer’s log-in details to fake websites.
The fake websites redirects users to a page claiming to be a fake site and offering a “free” subscription.
This “reverse” phishing scam is used by criminals who want to collect information on victims’ personal accounts or online financial transactions.
It’s unclear how much money the hackers were able to steal, but they have since made a few other efforts to try and recover their data.
This included sending ransom emails to people who believed their accounts were being accessed.
The attack on the top ten chat networks affected over 2,500 people, the study found.
The number of people affected ranged from 200 to 3,000.
The top 20 accounts were: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
The second most popular accounts were Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Vine.
The top 20 account accounts have over 10 million followers and more than 8,000 followers each on each of the other three networks.
This means that most users were also using at least some of the accounts on the list.
“It is no surprise that we found that these networks have become targets of a new type of attack.
These attackers were able, for the first time, to obtain credentials for accounts belonging to some of their most active users,” Check Point researchers wrote.
“We also identified several phishing attempts that targeted the top 15 chat networks.”
The researchers say they are working to fix this issue.