What should I do if my computer has ransomware?

What Should I Do If I Have Ransomware on My Computer?

Are you suspecting a ransomware malware on your computer or you already got a notification that your files are encrypted and need to get a decryption key? It may be hard to detect if the malware on your computer is actually a ransomware malware when your data isn’t encrypted.

However, specific cybersecurity tools can reveal the properties of malware, which tells what the malware is capable of doing. Whatever the case, if you are sure that a ransomware malware is on your computer, you should quickly:

  • Scan your PC to get rid of the malware
  • Disconnect your internet connectivity
  • Seek help to rid the malware off your computer
  • Do not panic

Other than that, if you have ransomware on your computer–that is you can see a notification on your computer screen requesting a ransom after you’re denied access to your important files, this article will explain how you can handle such situations. But first, let’s take a refresher course on what ransomware is and how it spreads. This should equip you with more knowledge about the ransomware malware.

What Should I Do If I Have Ransomware on My Computer?

What is Ransomware?

Perhaps you already know how ransomware works, a little refresher can go a long way for those with little knowledge. As you probably know, ransomware is a type of malware that locks a computer user out and demands a ransom. This malware takes the same approach as other malware to infect a computer but, it’s primary aim is to get money from victims forcefully.

The ransomware creators embed the malicious codes on a presume safe file and send to their targets via email, as software, social media content, website pop-ups, etc. The method used is phishing–they trick you into opening an attachment with the malicious link, which sends the malware to your computer.

Once this malware finds its way to your computer, it scans your PC and discovers the most vital files. The next action is to make them unreadable on your end and eventually locks you out. You can only see a message on your computer screen asking you to pay a ransom to get your data back or risk losing them entirely.

This is what ransomware attack entails, and the experience is far from being pleasant. Victims do lose vast amounts to the scammers coupled with disruptions of activities. For instance, in 2019, the Baltimore City government was hit by ransomware, and the attack lasted for one month. Throughout the attack period, activities were halted, and they eventually spent $18 million before normalcy was restored.

What to Do When Attacked by Ransomware

Don’t Be Quick to Pay the Ransom

Though the attackers may threaten to destroy your data if you fail to comply, you should take some time before you act. During this time, you want to check if you can access the ceased data through other means. Perhaps you had them backed up; you can restart your computer and recover your data from the backup servers.

Ask Questions

Perhaps that’s what you just did and eventually found this web page. You want to make more enquiries and possibly from those that have been victims. While you may not find someone around you, you can exploit online forums like Reddit, groups on Facebook, and other technology forums.

Do You Have Your Data Backed Up?

If you’re sure that your data are correctly backed up, and you can recover them, there’s no need to pay the ransom. The attack may not affect your backed up copy. So go ahead and verify that you can retrieve your data before you format your computer and clean up the mess.

Pay the Ransom

If every other thing fails—that is if your data is not backed up and you do lose essential data if you don’t pay the ransom, you want to play along with the criminals. Yes, you should pay the ransom to spare your data unless they aren’t essential to you. This is not to encourage payment of ransomware attacks, but your data may be the life wire of your business, and you have to protect them.

How to Prevent Ransomware

The best way to handle ransomware attacks is not to avoid paying the ransom because you have your files backup or paying to regain access to your files. Instead, you want to prevent ransomware entirely. Even though you do recover your data on your back up servers, the time taken to perform that may disrupt your business operations. Of course, you know the implications of halting your business operations.

So, preventing ransomware is the best way to go and here is how:

  • Avoid opening suspicious attachments from emails.
  • Set strong passwords
  • Keep all your applications updated, including your operating system
  • Use antiviruses/anti-malware programs
  • Use advanced security systems to detect and block sophisticated malware like ransomware.
  • Back up your data—you do recover your data in case of any sudden attack.

Want to learn more about using advanced security systems to keep your computer safe? Go here to learn more about Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Protection.

How Fast Does Ransomware Work?

How Fast Does Ransomware Work?

It is no longer news that ransomware is presently one of the most troublesome and challenging issues malware threatening businesses and individuals. Ransomware attacks in the United States alone cost businesses over $7.5 billion in 2019.

The most recent ransomware attacks—and one of the most devastating in recent history was the WannaCry worm which ultimately infected over 200,000 computers across 150 nations within four days. Estimates of damages exceeded $1 billion, taking into account service outages, data loss, disrupted operations as well as recovery.

This goes to show how destructive ransomware can be within a short period. The painful part is that there is no sign of slowing down. Cybercriminals can easily purchase malware on the dark web, thereby making ransomware-as-a-business a booming business today.

How Fast Does Ransomware Work?

How Does Ransomware Work?

Once the ransomware malware penetrates your computer, the attack takes effect almost immediately. However, there are cases where the malware may hide on a victim’s computer for a long time—looking for essential data to encrypt.

Once the malware finds a victim’s essential data, it encrypts files and all important documents on the infected system, thus rendering them inaccessible. Unlocking these files requires the use of a decryption key, and the only way to get it is by paying the ransom demanded. Paying this ransom, however, does not guarantee the encrypted files will be unlocked. Yet, many ransomware attacks have seen the attackers lifting the restriction after the payment.

Other variants of ransomware do not encrypt files but may disable access to them. In some cases, the malware may alter the behavior or action of an application or a file. Whichever is the case, you will definitely know that your PC or device is infected because ransomware usually comes with a ransom note which will be displayed on your screen. The note will ask you to pay a particular amount of money, generally in virtual currency or Bitcoin.

How Fast Ransomware Works

You may be wondering how fast ransomware works to have caused such devastation within a short period. In-depth and meticulous research has revealed that the average time it takes for ransomware to start encrypting the files in your PC or network is only 3 seconds.

That is to say, as soon as you download that shady eBook or run that malicious macro, your files have started encrypting even before you think up the great idea of taking your PC to the IT helpdesk.

Within that precious time-frame, several destructive tasks would have taken place which renders you helpless and utterly incapable of doing anything.

The Impact of Ransomware

The impact of ransomware on businesses and organizations around the world is one of shocking disbelief. Not less than 966 organizations in the education, government, and healthcare sectors were attacked with ransomware in 2019, according to reports. This has resulted in potential damages averaging over $7.5 billion.

Moreover, recovery costs from a less-than-severe Ransomware attack during the first quarter of 2020 more than doubled. But there is more than these growing numbers which require your undivided attention.

Cybercriminals are becoming even more brazen with access to malware variants that can steal data as well. These bad actors then threaten to expose the stolen data if the victims do not pay up as soon as possible.

These fear and scare tactics have convinced many organizations that paying a ransom is a small sacrifice compared to what may occur if their secrets are exposed and their brand reputation ruined. And this line of thought is precisely what encourages such malware attacks in the future.

Preventive Measures

You can take preventive measures against Ransomware attacks by ensuring all software on your system is patched with the latest updates. Make sure all your firewalls are correctly configured and ensure you keep regular backups.

Your staff must also be trained always to be wary of potentially harmful files and not to open malicious emails or click links from unrecognized sources.

And organizations should not hesitate to engage the services of trained cybersecurity professionals that will help them test their defenses from time to time.

Security systems like antiviruses/anti-malware programs can also help you detect and block ransomware and other malware from entering your system. Also, you should invest in advanced security systems to block advanced threats that may bypass antiviruses/anti-malware.

Conclusion

Cyber threats are evolving so rapidly, and you have to put up the best measures to keep your data secured. Ensure your software is up-to-date, be careful of attachments from unrecognized sources, and keep regular backups.

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How Can Ransomware Spread?

How to remove Gandcrab v5 0.4 ransomware

Many years ago, in 1989, precisely—a seminar organized by the world health organization witnessed attendees’ data restricted after using an AIDS guide diskette on their computers. This diskette was loaded with malicious codes instead of the information it claimed to have about AIDS. The creator of the malware, Joseph Popp, who was actually an AIDS researcher, requested a certain sum from the victims before the restrictions could be lifted. However, the attack was neutralized as tools became available to crack the codes, but the pace for ransomware attacks was set.

Today, ransomware attacks have become rampant, costing victims millions of dollars. Government agencies, businesses, and individuals have all had their share of ransomware attacks, which has continued unabatedly.

How does ransomware spread? Ransomware does spread, yes! And the methods of attacks vary. Basically, phishing has been the widely used method of spreading ransomware. Below, we have considered the various phishing methods and other methods of attacks deployed in spreading ransomware.

Email Attachments

This is one of the phishing methods used by ransomware criminals to spread ransomware malware. The email attachments are accompanied by con messages pretending to be your business associate or client. If you’re a target, they go the extra mile to research your clients or business associates, hack into their emails or create a similar email identity. The attachments may come in different formats such as ZIP files, PDF, Word document, Excel spreadsheet, etc. Opening the attachment lets the ransomware into your computer.

Prevention Tips

  • Do not open email attachments from untrusted senders.
  • Check carefully to spot emails impersonating your business associate, client, or service providers. It is possible to register a domain name with a different extension similar to your business partner or anyone they are impersonating. Ensure you compare such emails before you take any action.
  • Call your business partner, client, or service provider to verify any email from them asking you to open suspicious attachments.

Infected Links

Although you may not identify an infected link by mare looking at the URL, the sender and accompanying text can help you suspect such links. This is another method of phishing used by ransomware criminals. The messages are often worded convincingly, to trick you into clicking the link. Infected links are spread through social media messages, emails, and other digital means of sending messages with links.

Prevention Tips

  • Be careful of persuasive messages sent via emails and social media private message box asking you to click a link. Do not quickly trust the identity as any of your friend’s may compromise, and they’d attack through the profile.
  • Hover around URLs to check what the link contains.
  • Use short URL checker tools to expand shortened URLs.
  • Enter links manually on your computer to avoid opening phishing links.

Remote Desktop Protocol

Ransomware can also spread via a network. As you may know, the remote desktop is a communication protocol that allows connection between two computers over a network connection, and this a popular attack vector. Dharma, SamSam, and GandCrab, etc., are typical examples of ransomware spread through a remote desktop protocol.

Prevention Tips

  • Use strong passwords and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts
  • Ensure you change your remote desktop control port.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for remote sessions
  • Use a VPN

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)

About 22 towns in Texas were attacked by ransomware in August 2019—demanding 2.5 million dollars as ransom. This attack, according to available statistics, was spread through MSP tools. MSPs are frequent targets of phishing attacks through exploiting the RMM software. An attack on MSP can affect the whole customer base.

Prevention Tips

  • Enable two-factor authentication on RMM software.
  • Ensure you use an MPS company with advanced security systems to combat phishing scams.

Cracked/Pirated Software

Are you happy downloading cracked software into your computer as you don’t have to pay for them? You may have to pay more money to ransomware criminals if you continue using cracked software. Most of the cracked software sites are operated by scammers in disguise. They may hide malicious codes on them, which means installing the software signals a welcome to the malware.

Aside from the software harboring malware, cracked software does not receive updates from the developers, and you do miss essential updates. Note that most updates are released to patch security vulnerabilities. With outdated software, you risk being easily attacked by ransomware.

Prevention Tips

  • Do not use cracked software.
  • Be wary of some free software.

Wrap Up

Ransomware can also spread through websites pop-ups, USB drives, network propagation, malvertising, etc. You can avoid ransomware by following the prevention tips highlighted above and also investing in security systems.

Most importantly, make sure to back up your data to help you recover them if the worse comes to worst!

Related Resources

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Does Ransomware Hold a User’s Files for Ransom by Encrypting Them?

Zeus Virus

As a type of malware, ransomware doesn’t corrupt or damage your data as other malware does. If you’re wondering if ransomware holds a user’s files for ransom by encrypting them, you surely know a thing about ransomware. This is correct about ransomware—the malware’s primary target is to get money from its victims fraudulently.

Ransomware doesn’t occur naturally but is developed by humans. As you may know, virtually all applications we use on our computers are developed via codes. This is how ransomware is created. The people behind ransomware do write some malicious codes that carry out the havoc.

Unlike other computer applications we willing want on our devices, no one willingly wants ransomware infected software into his computer. So, how does ransomware enter a computer?

How Ransomware Spreads

Though ransomware attacks differ from other malware, its mode of spreading is similar to other malware. As you may know, it’s impossible for a computer that isn’t compromised to get infected by malware. So, before malware enters a laptop, the user might have compromised. This is often through downloading software or gap attachments with malicious codes. Here’s how the attackers operate:

Email Phishing

Email scam is an old method of malware attacks, and ransomware thieves widely use this method. The attackers would add malicious codes to an email attachment and broadcast them to several email addresses. If you’re a target, they do go the extra mile to mimic your personal physician, bank, and other service providers you have dealings with. This is a trick to have you open the attachment that comes with the email so that the ransomware can enter your computer. You want to ensure you verify emails before you open any attachments therein.

Social Media

Most people depend on social media to carry out their daily business activities, and they spend a considerable time there. On the other hand, social media has become a hub of fun times for many people. Ransomware attackers have also taken advantage of this to launch their attacks. An aggressor might disguise to look like your social contact or hack into your friend’s account to send messages with malicious attachments. Any such attachment may end up in ransomware attacks.

Also, content from various social media groups may harbor malware as well.

Unsafe Websites/Pop-Ups

You probably have heard of the Adobe flash ransomware attacks. This was a method deployed by some ransomware assailants to launch several attacks. This trick was through fishy websites probably owned by the scammers. Computer users were prompted to update their Adobe flash when they landed on these websites. It wasn’t really an update, but a malware attack that takes over your computer once you click on the pop-up.

This pop-up trick can also be in the form of a promotional offer or something related. You should be careful when browsing through certain websites with persistent pop-ups asking you to update any software on your computer.

You can also get infected by ransomware through cracked software. You should avoid downloading from untrusted websites.

How is Ransomware Ransom Paid?

After encrypting your files and denying you access to your computer, the man behind the attacks leaves a message on your computer screen with instructions on how to make the payment. This is probably the only thing you can see when you turn on your computer as access is restricted. The payment method is usually via Bitcoin. You may wonder why the attackers often prefer to get paid via Bitcoin.

This is because Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency without traces of transactions. The sender or receiver’s addresses are not monitored and recorded. This is somewhat a shield for the ransomware attackers as their identities are concealed.

How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

As you can see, a non-compromised computer can’t be attacked by ransomware. So the best way to defend against ransomware is to avoid downloading infected software and opening attachments from unknown email senders. Also, being careful of incessant pop-ups when browsing through some websites is another step to take.

However, this may not be easy to maintain, especially for businesses and other agencies with several employees. If one of your employees’ computers is compromised, the malware may infect the whole system. This is common in a network of computers. Thus, you want to deploy cybersecurity to prevent ransomware and other malware attacks.

A common cybersecurity practice involves keeping your applications updated, using stronger passwords, and using the best antiviruses and considering advanced security systems. Ransomware developers are becoming trickier, developing codes that trick antiviruses and firewalls. You need Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP) that uses sophisticated technology to identify and block stubborn malware.

If you’re curious to learn more about AEP, go here for more details.

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What Ransomware Allows Hackers to Do?

How to avoid ransomware

You probably have heard of a malware attack that locks a computer owner out and requests for a ransom before lifting the restriction. This is what ransomware does on a computer. The malware is programmed to encrypt your computer files, deny you access to them and leaves a message on your screen requesting for ransom.

So, what does ransomware allow a hacker to do? The person behind the malware who is the supposed hacker develops the malware and looks for prey. Once the malware gets to your computer, the hacker can view your files and encrypt them to block your access to them.

Basically, ransomware malware aids a hacker to carry out his fraudulent deeds.

Ransomware Attacks

Phishing has been the most successful method of ransomware attacks. Here is a breakdown of the various phishing methods deployed by ransomware attackers.

Email

These days, it’s common to receive several emails from unknown identities. While some of these emails are from marketers trying to push their products and services to the public, other emails are from scammers. In the case of ransomware, the attacker would embed malicious codes in the attachments and send them to unsuspecting people. This is a trick to get the malware to your computer. Opening the attachment transfers the ransomware malware to your computer and hence the attack.

Cold Calls

Another method of phishing is through cold calling. The criminals may impersonate your service provider to get information from you or send links asking you to verify your account or anything related.

Social Engineering

Though social media has its good site, it has been infiltrated by cybercriminals roaming around to find victims. You may get ransomware to your computer through infected links from groups and inbox messages. You should be careful of links you click or applications you download on social media.

Cracked Software

Are you a fan of cracked software sites? You risk being infected by malware anytime soon. Most cracked software websites are operated by cybercriminals. You may think they’re doing you well, but their original intent is to monitor your computer after downloading the software. They may add malicious codes to the cracked software, which means your information is tracked and could result in a malware attack. Apart from the original creators having access to your information, cracked software also leaves loopholes for other cybercriminals to attack you, as your version of the software isn’t updated.

Developers of these software release updates on the go—to patch security loopholes.

Pop-ups

Pop-ups from websites are not originally harmful, but some internet thieves have taken advantage of it to launch malware attacks. You may stumble on a webpage displaying a pop up about software that needs to be updated. Be careful, that’s usually a trick by attackers. In the past, Adobe flash was used to attack so many computer users. The criminals displayed pop-ups asking users to update Adobe flash, but that was actually a malware.

Do Hackers Release Ceased Data After Payment of the Ransom?

Most of the attacks saw the release of data after the ransom was paid. However, there are some reports where the criminals couldn’t release the data. If you’re attacked by ransomware, and you know your data aren’t backed up, it’s best to respond swiftly to avoid losing your data.

But you shouldn’t be a victim. The best thing is to protect your data from ransomware attacks and other forms of malware attacks.

How to Defend Against Ransomware

Though ransomware criminals have developed codes that are difficult to crack, and most of the time, beat antiviruses and firewalls to infect computers, you can still prevent its occurrence. This is through cybersecurity and other advanced security methods.

To begin, you want to ensure you avoid opening unverified emails. Caution your employees and train them on this as well. Other than that, you need to:

Update all your software

Outdated software is vulnerable to malware attacks; that’s why the developers release updates periodically. Ensure you update once new versions are available.

Use stronger passwords

Weak passwords are easily guessed. You want to prevent that by using strong passwords that contain numbers, text and special characters.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi can sell you out to cybercriminals. Avoid using it.

Back-Up Your Data

This is paramount to give you an alternative in case of unusual events.

Upgrade your security system

Upgrading your security system entails moving to advanced endpoint protection. Since traditional security systems may fail to stop some malware, you need advanced security systems that use high-security technology like AI, IoT, etc., to monitor and halt sophisticated malware like ransomware.

You can learn more about advanced endpoint protection here.

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What is the Purpose of Ransomware?

data security

Ransomware is a type of malware that impacts computer users negatively. You probably know the intent of malware—corrupt computer files, damage, etc.

But what is the purpose of ransomware? Unlike other malware, ransomware’s primary goal is not to corrupt users’ files or destroy them, but to get money from the victims fraudulently. Ransomware attacks encrypt users’ data, lock them out of their computers, and demand a ransom before lifting the restriction. In recent years, government agencies, healthcare providers, and other businesses had lost considerable sums to ransomware attacks.

Once you’re hit by ransomware, your entire business suffers setbacks as all your essential data is rendered useless until the ransom is paid. So, it’s safe to say the primary purpose of ransomware is to rip off the victims of their money. However, there have been cases where ransomware victims couldn’t recover their data after paying the requested ransom, which means attackers may have other plans. Here’s a look at other possible purposes of ransomware:

Steal Your Data

Though they may request ransom and probably return your access, they’d steal your data for what use you may not know. Since the attackers can access your information during the attack, there’s a high chance that most of your vital data may be in public for some selfish reasons, perhaps.

Damage Your Data

This has been the core of most malware attacks, and ransomware criminals can also take this path. Already, there are cases where the returned files are altered, resulting in damages. On the one hand, ransomware attacks can also destroy your data, and statistics say some victims lost their files even after paying the ransom.

Sell Your Data

Chances of ransomware criminals selling off victims’ data are high. Of course, they can access your entire information, which means they’d sell it off if they have the right offers.

Who’s a Target of Ransomware?

In the early phase of ransomware attacks, healthcare industries were mostly targeted. However, recent statistics show that government agencies and schools have severally been on ransomware books. An oil and gas company was also attacked recently in the United States. This indicates that companies with essential data are targets of ransomware and even figureheads in such companies.

Avoiding Ransomware

Avoiding ransomware begins with understanding how the malware enters a computer system. The most used method is phishing.

As you may know, phishing involves sending infected attachments to users through emails, social media, etc. But why would one open an infected attachment? Of course, no one will willingly open an infected attachment. But ransomware creators are somewhat con artists. They send deceitful emails pretending to be your business associate or service providers.

Most of the time, they create email IDs similar to popular service providers and banks, and may also hack into real users to attack their user base. Ensure you verify emails before opening the attachment therein.

Other methods include infected software, pop-ups from suspicious websites asking you to update software, social media content, etc. Overall, ransomware depends on a host to attack computers. Avoiding ransomware, therefore, requires being able to identify unsafe links and avoiding them. You should verify email IDs before taking any action based on the content of the email. You may want to call your service providers to verify emails requesting you to open attachments.

Apart from being vigilant about attachments and unsafe software, you also need to invest in security systems to protect your computers. Sometimes, a trusted vendor may compromise, and this can also get your system infected. But security systems can help you combat malware.

Antiviruses/Anti-malware

These are popular traditional security systems and are useful in combating malware. Ensure you get the best ones. However, traditional security systems may not stop some advanced threats, so you need advanced security systems to protect against tough malware.

Advanced Security Systems

Fileless malware and other types of sophisticated malware usually trick traditional security systems but can be stopped by advanced security systems. Advanced security systems use security technology like AI, IoT, etc., to Detect and block tricky malware.

If you’re not sure what advanced security systems are, check out Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Protection.

Wrap Up

Ransomware’s primary purpose is to steal victims’ money by forceful demands via ransom. However, victims may also lose data and risk having their data on public domains. Ransomware has no good intent, so it’s best to protect against the attacks.

While you get the best security systems, ensure you stick to basic cybersecurity tips such as keeping all your applications updated, setting strong passwords, etc. More so, data backup is necessary as it gives you the option of recovering your data in case of any unusual event.

How Do Hackers Start Ransomware Attacks?

Malicious Software

Ransomware is a type of malware, and its attacks are launched through the various methods of spreading malware. As you may know, malware spreading depends on a host to enter a computer, such as attachment, links, software, etc.

This article presents more details on ransomware attack methods. But first:

What is Ransomware and its Motive?

Like Trojans, worms, computer viruses, etc., ransomware is another type of malware that poses threats to businesses, individuals, and even government agencies. It’s a computer program with malicious codes, meant to capture a user’s data and demand ransom. Yes, ransom demand, this is a different approach from other malware. This malware locks out a computer user, encrypts data, and asks for payment before decrypting the data.

Ransomware Motives

Steal Money from Victims

You may want to call it forceful or fraudulent means of getting money from unsuspecting people. Ransomware criminals’ primary intent is to get money from their victims after encrypting data. Several ransomware attacks have gulped huge sums from its victims. In August 2019, about 34 towns were attacked by Ransomware in Texas, requesting a total of $2.5 million before lifting the restriction. Not to mention the attack on the Baltimore City government that cost them $18 million to recover their systems.

Ransomware criminals usually target data-driven companies and have successfully gotten money from their victims after encrypting essential data and crippling activities.

Temporal/Permanent Loss of Data

Though most ransomware victims do retrieve their data after payment of the ransom, others lose both data and money. Moreover, during an attack, victims lose their data temporarily, which could be permanent. Some ransomware attacks may directly aim to cease your data permanently, and you are bound to lose them even after paying the ransom.

Other motives of ransomware attacks could be data destruction, stealing sensitive information, and releasing victims’ private data to the public. Although all these methods are used to threaten victims to pay a ransom, they may still do one of them even after paying the ransom.

How Do Ransomware Attacks Occur?

Back to the main discourse, ransomware, as mentioned earlier, spreads via phishing scams and other related methods. Let’s take a detailed look at the various phishing methods deployed by ransomware criminals:

Email Attachments

The approach is always tricky. The attackers may impersonate people you know, send deceitful messages with malicious attachments. These attachments usually contain the ransomware malware, and you do suffer an attack after opening the attachment.

To prevent such occurrences, you want to be careful with unknown emails asking you to open an attachment. Though some may mimic someone you know, ensure you check carefully before taking any action. If possible, avoid opening unverified attachments from any email ID.

Malicious Links

Like email attachments, ransomware also spreads through infected links. Of course, this is another widely used phishing method. It takes the same approach with attachments. They send persuasive messages to their targets to trick them into clicking the infected links.

You can prevent this by watching email and messages sent to you on social media asking you to click links to promotions and the likes.

Pirated Software

Most Pirated software are malware hubs. Perhaps you are happy using such software because you don’t pay money, but you risk being attacked by ransomware and other malware. Cracked/pirated software may contain malicious codes from the manipulators, which reveals your information when installing the program on your computer. More so, cracked software does not receive updates from the real developers, and most updates are meant to patch security loopholes. Which means other attackers can easily get you through the pirated software on your computer.

Avoid using such software to prevent ransomware and other malware attacks.

Website Pop-ups

Ransomware attacks can also hit you through website pop-ups. You may stumble on a webpage, asking you to update an application on your computer or click the pop up to remove malware off your computer. You may invite malware to your computer by clicking such pop-ups. Be wary of random websites displaying pop-ups that want you to install an app on your computer for whatsoever reason. Most of the time, this is a tricky method used by ransomware criminals to launch attacks. Of course, this method was used via Adobe flash update to attack many computer users.

Flash Drives

You probably know that infected files on flash drives sent to your computer can bring in malware. You should be careful of where you get data into your system. You can further prevent this with an active antivirus/anti-malware software.

Wrap Up

Ransomware brings no pleasant experience, and you want to prevent it by all means. Thankfully, there are proven ways to avoid the attacks, as you have read above. Also, security systems can help you protect your computers against ransomware attacks. Ensure you step up to advanced security systems that can detect and block sophisticated malware.

Backing up your data is also crucial, as it helps you recover them when you lose them to cyber-attacks or physical disasters.

Ransomware Malware Attack Statistics 2021

Endpoint Security Platform

As you probably know, ransomware malware attacks focus on detaining users’ data and requesting a ransom before releasing it. Even though users’ data are released after the attack, the experience of ransomware is not a pleasant one. Ransomware attack on the Baltimore city government in 2019 crippled activities for over one month—resulting in several losses, including the known $18 million spent in the course of recovering the systems—this includes the ransom demanded by the criminals.

With its nature of attacks, ransomware malware has become a cause of concern as no one wants to be a victim. Government agencies, businesses, and even individuals are all vulnerable to ransomware attacks. But what is the current state of ransomware? Is it increasing or decreasing?

Recent Ransomware Malware Attack Statistics

Ransomware Costs Estimated to Reach 20 Billion Dollars by 2021 – Estimate

Cybersecurity ventures have estimated the global costs of ransomware to hit $20 billion by 2021. This increases their previous damages estimate of 11.5 billion dollars and 8 billion dollars in 2019 and 2018.

Ransomware Attacks Costs Exceeded 7.5 Billion in 2019

According to Emsisoft, ransomware attacks on healthcare providers, government agencies, and educational institutions in the United States cost over 7.5 billion dollars—these figures are for 2019 alone. The estimate is approximated based on average ransomware attacks cost and the recover duration, says Winnebago County’s CIO Gus Gentner.

Average Ransomware Ransom Amount Increased by 104% in Q4 2019

Coveware reports that ransomware attackers’ demand increased in the last quarter of 2019. About 780,000 dollars was paid as a ransom, making it the highest paid ransom in 2019.

An Oil and Gas Company Lost $30 Million to Ransomware Attackers

Trends Micro reports that an unnamed oil and gas company in the United States lost over $30 million to a ransomware attack that targeted computers containing many sensitive data. Trend Micros also said the oil and gas sector is becoming primary targets of ransomware attacks.

Is Ransomware Decreasing or Increasing?

From the reports above, it is apparent that ransomware attacks are increasing. More reports by cybersecurity companies show that malware detections have hit the roof. More and more victims would be recorded if not for security systems that halt most of the attacks.

Though attacks may seem to target healthcare providers and government agencies majorly, recent attacks on oil and gas industries mean attackers have shifted focus to other sectors. This development further indicates that ransomware can affect anyone as long as you have essential data that drives your business operations. So, preventing ransomware malware remains the best way to stay out of the attacks. As you can see, reports say detections have hit the roof, which means those with adequate preventive measures can halt the malware, even though a file that contains it was already on their computers.

Blocking Ransomware

Preventing ransomware begins with knowing its methods of spreading. As you may know, most malware spread through third-party computer programs. Some could be from trusted vendors that might have compromised unknowingly while others are mostly from phishing.

It is a great step to ransomware prevention when you avoid opening email attachments from senders you are not sure of their identities and not downloading software from random websites. You also want to be careful with pop-ups from sites asking you to click a link to update an application on your device or something related. Doing this can help you prevent ransomware malware from entering your computer.

On the other hand, security systems are essential as they help detect and block most malware programs. However, the security system you use also determines your level of security. Are you mainly using traditional security systems like antiviruses and firewalls? While they are effective in combating malware attacks, they are less effective when it comes to fileless malware and other advanced threats. Of course, ransomware creators are creating more advanced malicious codes, so you need to step up your security level to withstand any form of malware attack.

Endpoint protections are ideal for fighting sophisticated malware that deceptively penetrates computers. Advanced endpoint protections use high-end security technology to monitor, identify, and block tricky malware.

Wrap Up

While you step up your effort to protect your computer from ransomware by getting the best security systems, ensure you backup your data. When everything fails, data backup can help you retrieve your data to avoid heavy losses.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

Malware and Ransomware: What are the Differences?

Difference Between Malware and Ransomware?

Malware and ransomware are often used interchangeably, especially when talking about ransomware. The difference between malware and ransomware is not far-fetch, as the two almost mean the same thing. Puzzled? This article will throw in more clarity on these two terms. If you’re ready to learn more, let’s get right into it!

Difference Between Malware and Ransomware?

What is Malware?

Over the years, computer programs containing malicious codes have continued to pose serious risks to various computer users—from businesses, individuals, and government agencies. These computer programs that affect users by corrupting their files or damaging them are known as malware. So, malware is a computer program that harms your computer and other similar devices.

Malware exists in different types, with each having a different style of attack and damage. Some malware are meant to steal or destroy data, while others could lock a computer user out and, in turn, demand a ransom. Some notable malware includes worms, Trojans, viruses, ransomware, etc.

What is Ransomware?

As you have read above, ransomware is being mentioned as a type of malware, and that is what ransomware is. This malware locks a computer user out, encrypts data, and demands a ransom. Over the years, ransomware attacks have cost businesses and government agencies thousands of dollars. The attacks have become so vile, targeting both healthcare providers and schools.

A ransomware attack on the Baltimore City government cost them $18 million before normalcy was restored, and the attack lasted for one month, shutting down activities throughout the attack.

That’s how devastating ransomware is, and you may want to know more about ransomware and how to avoid the attacks, right? We’ll get to it, but before that, let’s clarify the differences between malware and ransomware.

What are the Differences?

From the above, one would think it’s better to ask about the similarities of the two terms instead of the differences. Either way, malware and ransomware both have differences and similarities. The difference is that ransomware is a product of malware. Of course, the similarity is still the same thing—ransomware is a malware.

So the bottom line is malware and ransomware refers to malicious computer programs. And ransomware is a specific malicious computer program.

That said, let’s dig deep into ransomware attacks and possible ways to prevent them.

How Does Ransomware Attacks Start?

Ransomware attacks start by installing the malware on your device. This is usually through a host—software, email attachment, etc. As you may know, phishing is a widely known method of spreading malware attacks, and this method is also utilized by ransomware criminals to get their prey.

They’d send an email containing attachments with malicious codes. Opening the link lets the malware into your computer and hence ransomware attacks. Apart from emails, downloading infected software can also bring malware to one’s computer. Infected software is mostly gotten on websites hosting cracked software. Also, some software vendors may compromise, resulting in ransomware attacks on users.

Pop-ups on websites have also been used to trick people into clicking links with malicious codes. You should be careful of any site asking you to update or download any software to your computer. Some could prompt you to scan your computer to eliminate malware. Be careful not to fall to such scams.

How to Know if Ransomware is in Your Computer?

For most victims, they only realize a ransomware attack after the on-screen notification asking for a ransom. At this time, the victim has no access to the computer entirely or some selected folders housing essential files. This is why ransomware is somewhat difficult to combat. If by any chance, you’re able to discover the presence of malware on your computer before encrypting your files, you can get rid of it before it fully settles to perform the task.

How to Prevent Ransomware

You can prevent ransomware by avoiding any suspicious attachment and software. However, some perceived safe software vendors may have compromised, making everyone vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Besides being careful of suspicious attachments and other computer programs, you need cybersecurity to be free from ransomware malware.

Some essential cybersecurity tips are:

  • Keeping all your applications updated
  • Using stronger passwords
  • Avoiding public Wi-Fi
  • Using active antiviruses
  • Using endpoint protection

Wrap Up

Available ransomware statistics show that ransomware is increasing with more detectives recorded. While antiviruses/anti-malware are useful, some malware may penetrate your system undetected. So, it’s wise to invest in advanced security systems and also back up your data. Data backup can help you recover your data in the event of any data loss—whether from malware attacks or physical disasters.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner