How Can Ransomware Get On Your PC?

How Can Ransomware Get On Your PC?

Ransomware attacks are becoming rampant. And it’s only wise to prevent your computer and data from the devastating effect of ransomware. If you are curious about how ransomware enters a computer, it is safe to assume you’re conscious of ransomware attacks. For your needs, this article covers more details about ransomware, from methods of spreading to the best ways to repel the attacks.

To begin, let’s take a refresher course on what ransomware entails. 

How Can Ransomware Get On Your PC?

What is Ransomware?

You probably know that ransomware is a type of malware that attacks computer data. However, it’s attacks have a different approach from the usual malware attacks. Instead of corrupting, stealing or damaging your data, ransomware takes over your system and locks you out. The goal is to encrypt your data, deny you access and ask for a ransom before releasing your data. This attack is aided by cybercriminals. You may want to refer to them as ransomware criminals or attackers. 

So what these fellows want is money, and they devised the malware attack method to force you into paying a ransom. Over the years, several ransomware attacks have hit individual businesses, healthcare providers and government agencies, costing them millions of dollars to recover their systems.

How Can Ransomware Get on Your PC?

Now to the main discourse, how does ransomware spread? Again, ransomware takes a similar approach like other malware in its spreading methods. Phishing is widely used to trick people into open malicious email attachment, social media content, software, etc. Here’s a detailed look into ransomware attack methods:

Email Attachment

To trick you into opening attachments with malicious codes, ransomware attackers would send deceitful emails with attachments that appear to be safe. They may go the extra mile to impersonate your service providers. You want to be careful with emails asking you to open attachments. Ensure you verify the sender before opening any attachment. Otherwise, you’re creating an opening for ransomware or other malware attacks.

Pirated Software

There are several websites on the internet hosting cracked websites, and most people go there to download the software. Perhaps you see that as a way of saving money, but you may be in for a ransomware attack that will cost you not just money but your business. Most cracked software has malware hidden inside, and you do have the malware on your computer on installing the software. 

On the other hand, cracked software vendors are not the original owners and can’t send you updates. As you may know, most software updates are meant to patch security vulnerabilities. 

If your computer applications are not up-to-date, other cybercriminals can take advantage of that to attack your computer and data.

Ensure you remove all cracked software from your device and get the original versions. This helps you prevent ransomware attacks.

Website pop-ups

Pop-ups from websites are also used in spreading ransomware. This works by asking you to click a link to download software or update the software on your computer. You probably have noticed that some websites display pop-ups once you land on their pages and stay for a while. Though not all pop-ups are fishy, you have to be wary of pop-ups requesting you to install software or scan your computer to rid viruses.

Maladvertising

Similar to website pop-ups, some cybercriminals would buy legitimate ad space but put malicious content on. Clicking on such ads will keep redirecting you to irrelevant pages. This can send malware to your computer. You may want to install ads blocker to prevent this or check carefully before you click ads. Most popular ad networks like Google Ads do have the inscription “Ads by Google”, you should check to see the company hosting ads before clicking.

Infected Files from Flash Drives

If you do accept files from random flash drives into your computer, you risk being infected with ransomware or other malware. Preventing this involves scanning flash drives before inserting on your computer. You should also install active antiviruses/anti-malware to detect harmful files.

Preventing Ransomware

As you have read, ransomware can be prevented through avoiding unverified email attachments, not using cracked software, etc. Overall, you should be smart enough to detect phishing scams—from emails, website pop-ups, ads, etc. 

More so, you need the best security systems to detect and block ransomware malware. While you invest in antiviruses/anti-malware, you also need advanced security systems to protect against sophisticated malware that may bypass antiviruses. If you’re curious to learn more about advanced security systems, go here to learn about Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Protection.

Also, ensure you stick to cybersecurity rules and back up your data for a possible recovery when the odds are against you.

Related Resources

Website Malware Scanner

What is the Meaning of Ransomware?

What is the Meaning of Ransomware?

In February 2020, residents of Redcar and Cleveland Borough, UK woke up to strange news. Cyber attackers have taken over the operations of their council’s computer. The council had to resort to the old fashion pen and paper to carry out the activities of the council. Report from authorities said the council suffered a ransomware attack.

Redcar and Cleveland is part of several county councils worldwide that ransomware attackers have targeted in recent years. They join a list of American cities like Baltimore, Atlanta, Lake City and others that have suffered ransomware attacks.

Municipalities are not the only victims of ransomware attacks. School districts, police departments, hospitals and even individuals have been targeted by ransomware attackers.

If you want to know about ransomware and how to protect yourself, then you need to read this article.

What is the Meaning of Ransomware?

Meaning of Ransomware

Any software that locks users out of their computers while demanding money to grant access is ransomware.

Ransomware is a combination of ransom and software. The ransom part of it is because the attackers demand money before users will get access to their files or computer. Ransomware can encrypt data in a format that makes it unreadable to file viewers. The files will have filenames with awful file extension to it.

Another type of ransomware can eject the user out of the computer and demand payment for login details.

How Computers Get Infected with Ransomware?

Ransomware mostly enters computers through email phishing. Infected files attached to emails can trigger the ransomware payload causing it to run in the background.

If you share storage devices with other users, you risk exposure to ransomware. A storage device infected with ransomware can pass it to your computer when you insert it into your computer.

Malicious websites created by rogues can also be a medium for distributing ransomware. If you click a link on these websites, it can trigger some actions in your browser that will eventually lead to ransomware entering your computer.

How Dangerous is Ransomware

Ransomware can cause a lot of damages when it gets into a computer. The most common is the loss of data.

In most cases of ransomware attacks, the intention is to hijack data belonging to its victims and render them unusable. Since the data is encrypted in a format determined by the attackers, the victims lie at the edge of losing their data.

There are also losses associated with ransomware attacks. For instance, in the 2019 US school districts attack, three states—New York, Arizona and Connecticut, had to delay their resumption. The time lost in negotiating or trying to find a solution will never be recovered.

Energy and power companies have been victims of ransomware attacks. This has led to fear of ransomware attackers targeting nuclear power plants, which can be disastrous. Although not a ransomware attack, the Stuxnet attack used a payload similar to the ones used by WannaCry. No one knows yet if ransomware creators might attack a nuclear power plant as they’ve done to other power plants.

What Can You Do About Ransomware?

Whether you operate a business or are a personal computer user, ransomware attack should be a concern for you.

You don’t need to panic, though. The best action you can take against ransomware is to prevent an attack from happening.

The following are some actions you can take to prevent a ransomware attack.

Scrutinize your Emails

Whenever you receive an email from anyone, confirm who the sender is before clicking any link or downloading any attachment. Check the sender’s email address for any alteration or misspelling.

If the email is from a close friend, colleague or family member, reach out to them to be sure they sent the email to you.

Do Not Open Strange Websites

Forums, groups and websites can be a hotspot for ransomware. Many ransomware distributors would drop links to their malicious websites. Avoid clicking those links.

If you open a website with some funny names as their URL, close it immediately. Moreover, if a website asks you to click a pop-up, be sure of the authenticity of the site before clicking.

Backup Your Data

Save your data to an external system from time to time. This way, you can wipe your computer completely clean when a ransomware attack happens.

Use Effective Security Systems

Antiviruses/anti-malware programs are traditional security systems that help identify and block malware attacks. This may also work in ransomware attacks. However, some ransomware attacks are so sophisticated that they may bypass these security systems. Thus, you also need advanced security systems to block such malware. Go here to learn about Advanced Endpoint Protection for advanced threats.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

I Have ransomware on my Computer: What Should I do?

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 Ransomware Infects a System?

How Does Ransomware Infects a System?

With the rise in ransomware attacks, it is estimated that organizations may be hit globally with a cost of $20 billion by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Of course, ransomware attacks are increasing, and the method of attacks revolves around phishing. Through email phishing and the likes, ransomware criminals can infect victims’ systems with the malware, which results in data encryption and subsequent requests for a ransom. 

Curious to know more about how ransomware infects a system? This article covers a large part of that other related subject matter—ransomware attacks

How Does Ransomware Infects a System?

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that affects a computer user by restricting them from accessing their data. It is used by cybercriminals to extort people or organizations whose data they have hacked into, and they hold it hostage until the demanded ransom is paid. 

If the ransom isn’t paid within the stipulated time put by the cybercriminals, they may leak the data to the public or damage it entirely. Ransomware is one of the major problems organizations are facing. Since the mid-2000s, when ransomware attacks became vile, businesses, individuals and government agencies have been victims, costing the huge sums to retrieve their systems. 

How Does Ransomware Infect a System? 

As mentioned above, phishing is one of the widely used methods. The attackers broadcast malicious content in emails, social media, ads, website pop-ups, etc. Let’s take a more detailed look at these methods.  

Phishing Emails 

This is one of the common methods used by cybercriminals to spread ransomware. The emails are created carefully so the victim can be tricked into clicking the link or opening an attachment in the email. The link or attachment contains the malicious file that will attack the system, and once it is clicked, it will gain access to the system files and data.

Once the malware enters a computer, it encrypts the files, and in some cases locks the owner or computer users’ outs. More advanced ransomware will spread to other systems (computers and servers) connected to the network.

Website Pop-ups

Ransomware can also infect your system when you click malicious pop-ups on random websites. Though not all website pop-ups are harmful, cybercriminals also use this means to get their victims. Pop-ups from ransomware attackers would probably ask you to update an application on your computer or trick you that your system is infected with malware and you need to click a link to rid the malware. You should avoid such requests to prevent malware attacks. 

Remote Control Desktop

Remote control desktop is created to offer IT administrators the possibility to access a system remotely for their work. Even though this was created for legitimate purposes, cybercriminals have seen it as a money-making venture.

Remote control desktop runs over port 3389. With a lot of systems having port 3389 open, cybercriminals can hack into the systems they find vulnerable to attacks. They will gain access to it by using brute-force attempts to log in as an administrator. 

The moment the cyber criminals make themselves an administrator, they will have full access to the computer and encrypt all data. Some cybercriminals go further by disabling endpoint security or by deleting windows file backups. 

Drive-By Downloads 

Attacking a user’s system through this method occurs without the user knowing—the ransomware attacks when the user visits a website that has been compromised. The user doesn’t need to click on anything before the malware spreads. 

Cybercriminals usually make use of drive-by downloads on a legitimate website, especially if the website is vulnerable. However, other cybercriminals set up a website instead of hacking into one. Once a user visits a legitimate website embedded with the malware, they will be redirected to another site where the cybercriminals have full control. 

Once the user’s system has been hijacked, a ransom note will appear demanding payments for the unblocking of the system and decrypting of files. 

How to Prevent Ransomware

Avoid Unverified Links

This is paramount if you want to stay safe. Don’t click on emails from unrecognizable companies or emails you didn’t subscribe to. Also, avoid unfamiliar websites.

Update your Operating System and Software Frequently

Keeping your operating system and software updated also helps in preventing you from ransomware attacks. When you update them, you will get the benefit of having the latest security patches. This makes it difficult for cybercriminals to target vulnerable software.

Use Security System

Antiviruses/antimalware programs can help block malware attacks. However, you also need advanced security systems as advanced threats can sometimes trick antiviruses. You can learn more about advanced security systems here if you’re not sure how they work.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

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.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

How Does Ransomware Get on Your Computer?

How Does Ransomware Get on Your Computer?

Ransomware remains one of the biggest security challenges on the World Wide Web. It is also one of the biggest and most common forms of cybercrime that many global organizations face today. Ransomware encrypts documents and files on PCs and even entire networks and servers.

Victims of Ransomware attacks are often left with very few choices: they can pay a ransom to the malicious actors behind the attack to regain access to their encrypted PC or network or restore their files and documents from backups.

How Does Ransomware Get on Your Computer?

How Does Ransomware Get on your Computer?

Ransomware can get on your computer in several ways. But the most common of them all is via the spread of malicious email. Malicious emails carry malicious attachments and scripts which are sent to many individuals. And if any of them receives and opens the email, their PCs or network will be infected with malicious code.

The second most common method that ransomware gets on PCs is via the use of social engineering. This involves the persuasion of someone reading an email or a post on an infected website to click a link that looks legitimate. Cybercriminals make use of government entities to pretend and demand huge ransoms while violating cyber law. They scare the victim and force them to make payment using fear tactics.

Malvertising is another method that criminals use to infect internet user’s devices with malware. It involves making bogus ads on the internet, and via these ads, a malicious script is subtly transferred to the victim’s computer. The process keeps repeating itself until the infection is transmitted to other clean networks and computers.

What are the Possible Repercussions of Ransomware?

Ransomware attacks target individuals and organizations. The negative consequences or impact that occurs as a result of ransomware attacks include:

  • Complete disruption of regular or consistent operations
  • Temporary or even permanent loss of proprietary information or sensitive data
  • Potential harm to the reputation of an organization
  • Massive financial losses incurred to restore files and systems

Moreover, paying the ransom is not an ultimate guarantee that the encrypted files will be restored or released. The only guarantee is that the malicious attacker receives the money, usually in virtual currencies, along with the victim’s banking information in some cases. The latter further enhances the victim’s vulnerability as their bank accounts could be hacked.

Decrypting infection is not an indication that the malware infection itself has been deleted or removed. It could be lurking somewhere on the hard drive and initiated at the behest of the malicious actor at a later date.

Signs that your System Has Been Infected with Ransomware

Your desktop or web browser will be locked with a message about how to unlock your system or pay the ransom demanded. Your file directories may contain a ‘ransom note’ file that comes in a .txt file.

Every one of your files will bear new file extensions appended to their filenames. Examples of ransomware file extensions include: .CTBL, .XRNT, .XTBL, .HA3, .zzz, .xyz, .ccc, .aaa, .vvv, .xxx, .ttt, .micro, .encrypted, .r5a, .magic, .bleep, .LOL!, .OMG!, .good, and so on.

What Can You Do to Protect Against Ransomware?

So, what can you do to protect your PC or systems from getting infected with ransomware? Here are a few tips to keep in mind, which will significantly minimize your chances of getting infected with the malware:

  • Create a data-backup-and-recovery plan for all sensitive information.
  • Conduct and test backups consistently to severely limit the impact of system or data loss as well as to speed up the recovery process.
  • All operating systems and software must be up-to-date with the most recent patches. Ignoring this step will make your applications and operating systems vulnerable to malware attack. By patching your apps and operating systems with the latest updates, the number of exploitable entry points is significantly minimized or reduced.
  • Network-connected backups have been proven to be susceptible to Ransomware attacks. Therefore, ensure all crucial backups are isolated from the entire network for optimum protection.
  • Ensure your anti-virus is always up-to-date. Thoroughly scan software downloaded from the Web before you run them.
  • Do everything in your power to not enable macros sent via email attachments. If you open an attachment and enable macros, you have made your PC or applications vulnerable to a ransomware attack. This is because the embedded code that comes with the attachment will trigger or activate the malware on your PC or network.
  • Use advanced security systems to block advanced threats.

Conclusion

Despite the prevalence of Ransomware attacks these days, you can prevent the malware from getting on your computer by following the tips discussed in this article. Ensure you have dependable security software and a regular backup in place.

How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?

How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?

Statistics have shown that Ransomware attacks are becoming more numerous these days. And they are estimated to cost multinational organizations up to $20 billion by 2021.

Ransomware attacks are not a new phenomenon. The world has witnessed numerous vile attacks of ransomware since the mid-2000s. Reports have it that the first known or recorded ransomware malware was created as far back as 1989. Ransomware attacks have somehow fluctuated over the years, but have risen significantly in frequency since recently. But what do Ransomware attacks entail? How do they happen? Read on to find answers to these questions are answered in this post.

How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a kind of malicious software that can infect a computer. It prevents the computer’s user or owner from accessing their data until a ransom is paid to unlock it. Several variants of ransomware have emerged over the years, and most of them, in most cases, attempt to extort money from computer users by displaying on-screen alerts.

The alerts usually inform the computer user that their files have been encrypted or their system has been locked out. Users are then asked to pay a ransom or else access to the system, or its data will not be restored. The demand for payment varies from one individual to another. But in most cases, it is usually between $200-$400 and even millions, which must be paid in virtual currencies or cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

How does Ransomware Attacks Happen?

Ransomware is usually spread via phishing emails that come with malicious attachments or via drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading occurs when a computer user visits an infected website unknowingly. And as soon as the user lands on such sites, malware is instantly downloaded and installed on the user’s systems without their knowledge.

A malware variant known as Crypto Ransomware is designed to encrypt files. It is also spread via the methods outlined above and can also be spread through social media via web-based instant messaging apps. Newer methods of ransomware, however, have been observed and noted. For instance, Web servers susceptible to attack have been tapped as an entry point to gain quick access to a company’s network.

What makes Ransomware So Effective?

The creators of ransomware do one thing correctly, and that is to instill panic and fear into their victims. This pushes the victims to pay the ransom demanded or click on a particular link which further infects their systems with additional malware.

Ransomware generally displays frightening messages such as these:

  • ‘All files on your computer have been encrypted. You must pay this ransom within 48 hours to regain access to your files/data.’
  • ‘Your computer was used to visit a website with illegal content. To unlock your computer, you must pay a $100 fine.’
  • ‘Your computer has been infected with a virus. Click here to resolve the issue now.’

How to Prevent Ransomware

A malware infection can be crippling and pretty devastating to individuals or organizations. Recovery can be complicated even when handled by a highly prestigious or recognized data recovery specialist. The best method of avoiding ransomware attacks is to take preventive measures.

Here is what you need to prevent ransomware attacks:

  • Keep your operating system as well as software up-to-date with the latest or most recent patches. Targets of most Ransomware attacks are vulnerable operating systems and applications.
  • Employ a recovery and data backup plan for all vital information. Carry out and test backups from time to time to curtail the impact of system or data loss and to facilitate the recovery process.
  • Keep in mind that network-connected backups can also be susceptible to a ransomware attack. Therefore, critical backups should always be cut off from the network or outright protection.
  • Always ensure you maintain up-to-date antivirus/anti-malware software. And don’t forget to always scan software downloaded from the internet before executing or launching them.
  • Do not enable macros from email attachments. This is because if you mistakenly open an unrecognized attachment and enable macros, embedded codes will readily execute the malware on your machine.
  • Don’t follow any unsolicited web links in emails from unverified sources.
  • Restrict the ability of users to install and run unrecognized software applications.
  • Use advanced security systems to combat sophisticated malware attacks.

Conclusion

Combating ransomware attacks is a continual fight. You can be on the winning side if you follow the tips outlined in this post. And lastly, ensure you always have a sound backup system available in case your computer does become infected and you are unable to recover your files.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

Is there Good Ransomware?

Is there Good Ransomware?

Ransomware attacks are known to cease victims’ data and may even destroy them at times. If you are able to recover your data safely, chances are you do lose money to the ransomware attacker. This also includes money to restore normalcy to your business operations after the halt. If this is all ransomware does to its victims, is there any good about ransomware?

Of course, no! So there is no good ransomware anywhere. Ransomware attacks are meant to wreak havoc to victims in a quest to get money fraudulently. To help you stay alert about ransomware, we’ll go on to explain more insights about ransomware malware attacks.

Is there Good Ransomware?

What is Ransomware?

It is purely a malware program. As you probably know, computer malware is developed by cybercriminals to steal information from computer users and sometimes destroys their data. However, ransomware approaches differ. The malware’s primary aim is to cease a victim’s data and lock them out. That means if you’re attacked by ransomware, access to your computer or specific folders will be restricted, and you have to pay a ransom before you regain access. Sounds outrageous, right? Yes, it is. It’s a deliberate act by the attackers to collect money from their victims, so they cease relevant data and threaten to destroy them if the ransom isn’t paid.

Over the years, there’ve been several ransomware attacks on healthcare providers, other businesses, and even government agencies. Schools are not left out. Victims suffer huge setbacks following disruptions of activities and loss of money.

How Do the Attacks Happen?

The malware can penetrate your computer through infected email attachments, links, software, social media content, etc. Before a full-blown ransomware attack, the attackers embed the malicious codes in email attachments and other forms of digital files mentioned above.

This method of spreading is aided by phishing. So the attackers adopt a deceitful approach to have their target open the infected attachment from emails. They’d even send emails like your business partner, healthcare provider, etc. Once you click such an attachment or link, the malware penetrates your computer and launches the attack.

Most victims don’t notice any malware on their computer until the notification from the criminal informs them of their encrypted data and requesting a ransom.

Attacks can also happen through infected software, especially cracked software. Moreover, ransomware criminals may buy ad space and distribute infected content. Social media engineering is not left out. Overall, virtually all attacks are launched through phishing, so you can prevent them by spotting phishing scams of any sort.

What Other Damages Can Ransomware Attacks Cause?

Apart from ceasing data and demanding ransom, ransomware attacks come with other negative influence. Let’s take a look at some of the damages:

Declined Reputation

If you’re a business that hosts users’ data, you may lose trust for compromising. Your clients may want to look elsewhere where their data can be protected. On the other hand, if you’re a vendor and your products got infected, resulting in passing them to your customers, you may also lose trust.

Permanent Loss of Data

Even though most victims recover their data after paying the ransom, other records say some victims couldn’t recover after paying the ransom. So paying the ransom is not a 100% guarantee of recovering your data. You may still lose them.

Loss of Money

Of course, one of the primary effects of ransomware attacks. Aside from the money for ransom, victims incur other unplanned expenses recovering their systems. They have to clean their systems and get rid of any hidden malware which may cost a lot of money.

More so, the crippling of activities during the attack can lead to losing business deals.

What is the Way Out?

You have to prevent ransomware attacks. That’s what you need to curtail ransomware’s excesses. Preventing ransomware involves deploying the best methods of cybersecurity.

As you have read, avoid suspicious emails asking you to open attachments. Also, do not download cracked software and be careful of random pop-ups on web pages asking you to update an application on your computer.

Other than the above, you need:

Security Systems

Traditional security systems like antiviruses can help detect and block malware. However, to ensure no malware bypasses antiviruses/anti-malware to attack your computer, you should invest in advanced security systems.

Advanced security systems like Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP) use advanced technologies like IoT, AI, etc., to monitor and stop sophisticated malware attacks like ransomware.

Wrap Up

Ransomware attacks are on the increase, and the best thing you need to do is Prevent the attacks. There’s no good ransomware, and you sure don’t want to have such unpleasant experiences.

Cybersecurity can help you—the tips above. Also, back up your data for a possible recovery in case the unexpected happens.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

Cyber Attack through Ransomware: Here is What It Means

What is Cyber Attack through Ransomware?

Curious to know what cyber-attacks through ransomware entails? It’s pretty simple and straightforward. This otherwise means ransomware attacks. If you’re still not sure what this is about, it’s safe to say you have no profound knowledge about ransomware and that’s okay. Surely, you do know what ransomware is, how it spreads, and the best way to prevent the attacks by continuing to read.

What is Ransomware?

You’re probably familiar with the term ransom, the cost of freeing a person held hostage by abductors. This kind of situation now has a cyber-version, which is known as ransomware. For ransomware, humans are not the target but computer devices and data. Perhaps this is also a direct attack on humans as they own the data.

That said, ransomware is a malware that encrypts victims’ digital data and demands a ransom. Once there’s ransomware on your computer, it encrypts your essential files and locks you out. The next thing is a notification on your screen requesting for money before you could regain access to your computer. Outrageous? Yes, this is what cyber-attacks through ransomware entails.

What is Cyber Attack through Ransomware?

Is this Method of Cyber Attacks New?

No, ransomware has been around for ages. However, the attacks weren’t vile until the mid-2000s. The first attack was in 1989, known as the AIDS Trojan but was quickly put under control. Fast forward to the present day, healthcare providers, individuals and government agencies have suffered devastating ransomware attacks, costing them millions of dollars.

For instance, the Baltimore City government suffered a ransomware attack that halted activities for one month. They also spent about $18 to recover their files. This may look like the worst attack, but no, they are other numerous similar cases of ransomware attacks all over the world.

Who is a Target of Ransomware?

Everyone is a target of ransomware attacks. From previous attacks, it shows that ransomware criminals are interested in companies operating daily on data. Schools, hospitals, government agencies and even oil and gas industries have been victims of ransomware attacks. Individuals are not left out, which makes it clear that everyone can be a target of ransomware attacks and hence the need to prevent the malware from entering your computer.

How can one Prevent Ransomware?

The first step is to know how ransomware gets into a computer. Ransomware takes the same approach as other malware to spread, and phishing is widely used. If you can detect phishing emails and other digital content, you can prevent ransomware attacks.

Through phishing, ransomware criminals would send emails with malicious attachments to people. They aim to have you open the attachment or links to let the malware into your computer. If you can spot such emails, you’re a step ahead in ransomware prevention. Websites pop-ups, ads, social media content, pirated software, etc., are also used to spread ransomware.

You should be wary of random emails, pop-ups or ads, persuasively requesting you to click a link, download a software or update an application on your computer. Check carefully before you perform such actions. This also applies to content on social media. Attacks can also be launched from there, so scan your inbox messages with attachments or short URLs. For short URLs, you can use a URLs tool to see the actual link. This may help you know more about the link’s content.

More so, ransomware criminals may impersonate your business partners, service providers, etc. Ensure you verify any attachment before you open them.

However, when it comes to software, you can also be infected with malware, even when you don’t use pirated ones. How? Software vendors are also targets of ransomware attacks. A compromised vendor can distribute infected software unknowingly. To prevent this, you need an effective security system.

What are Security Systems?

You probably know about antiviruses/anti-malware programs. These are security systems that can help detect and block malware attacks. Ensure you get the most effective ones. However, some malware attacks like ransomware may take a fileless approach or other sophisticated methods that may bypass antiviruses/anti-malware. What to do? Advanced security systems can help.

A typical example is the Advanced Endpoint Protection. This security system uses advanced technologies like AI, IoT, etc., to detect and block sophisticated malware. You can learn more about Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Protection here.

Wrap Up

Cybersecurity rules can help you prevent ransomware and other malware attacks. Some of these rules include updating your applications always, using strong passwords, avoiding public Wi-Fi, etc. With security systems and other cybersecurity rules, you can prevent ransomware attacks. You also want to back up your data for a possible recovery when the odds are against you.