What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a very dangerous and perverse type of malware. Ransomware encrypts and blocks access to your data. To regain control of your system, the cybercriminal demands money. Usually, this is within a time frame. It is possible to only hope that once you have paid the required amount, the hacker will send you the decryption keys.
Ransomware attacks can cause computer users to lose their computers.
You should be aware of Ransomware today and do everything you can to combat it. This problem is on the rise. It grew by 2,500% in the past year. If you’re not careful, you might suddenly see a message on the screen informing you that your data is unavailable.
Ransomware can be sent to your computer in many ways. A typical way to infect your computer is via email attachments. Cybercriminals want you to click on an infected attachment on your computer. The trick is called “Falling”. It allows the cybercriminal to run the program in the background, and to encrypt all data that makes the system inaccessible.
Spam ware can also be used to lure users into implementing ransomware. There are many nasty methods. Avoid clicking on unwelcome offers and suspicious links. Cybercriminals offer ransomware services for a portion of the stolen amount and automate the evolution of ransomware.
One allows the hacker use an invisible website page behind the one visible on the screen. Unsuspecting computer users could click on an area of the screen, and the ransomware would start downloading without their knowledge.
Ransomware is something everyone should be afraid of
Ransomware was the most prominent malware of 2018 and has seen a huge increase in its popularity. Over the past year, ransomware attacks have increased by more that 109%. According to one industry source, 75 billion dollars per year are being lost.
The author knows of a city government that was attacked by malware. To restore access to mission-critical information, the cybercriminal demanded $500,000.00. The municipality was unable to continue its business operations at a snail’s speed. The ransom was paid by the town officials. Thankfully, the records were restored.
Ransomware attacks can lead to high recovery costs. The city of Atlanta was the victim of a well-publicized ransomware attack. It demanded $51,000.00 in payment. The estimated recovery costs for the attack were 17 million dollars.
Ransomware attacks are used by cyber thieves to extort money from businesses, institutions, and personal computers. Ransomware attacks can be stopped by user awareness. It is also important to keep all your software up-to-date.
Backups are one of the best defenses against ransomware. Ransomware can infect any device connected to your network. This includes data stored in the cloud.
Experts recommend that backup must be kept separate from mission-critical information.
Andra Zaharia and Heimdahl list 15 items that will provide ransomware protection at a higher level.
Below are her comments paraphrased:
1) Increase your security awareness.
2) Do not store sensitive data on a computer.
2) Keep at least two backups on your removable hard drive.
4) Connect your data to the cloud service you choose and close the connection immediately.
5) You might consider a “white-hat attack” against your computer systems.
6) Patch all operating systems and software.
7) For daily use, consider using a guest account instead of an administrator account.
8) Disable all macros (special command orders): Word Excel PowerPoint Java Java.
9) Disable browser plug-ins (Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader), Java, Silverlight, and Java Set the browser to request activation.
10) Maximize the security settings of your browser.
11. Disable any plugins or older software that you no longer use.
12) To avoid malicious ads, use an ad-blocker.
13) Never open an email from unknown senders
14) Never download attachments.
15) Never click on questionable links.
16) Use a trusted antivirus product or malware to install it and have it automatically updated.
17) Use traffic filtering software.
18) If you don’t use Remote Desktop Services, another source suggests that you disable it.
This article was written by the author. He recommends you to stop having a constant connection to the Internet.
To avoid losing precious time, you should have a backup plan. If your computer is infected with malware, you will need to wipe it clean. You should be prepared to restore data from any backups you have. Security experts recommend that you practice recovering data from backup.
What can you do if you are a victim?
Restoring your data is the best way to stop ransomware-assisted cybercriminals.
Federal government recommends that you immediately notify authorities if you suspect an attack. Notify the FBI or United States Secret Service of any ransomware attack. This could help prevent you from further losses.