How Does a Ransomware Attack Work?

How do you get ransomware?

As a type of malware, ransomware attacks work like every other malware—targeting users’ computer users’ data. However, other famous malware such as Trojans, worms, and viruses are known to corrupt data or damage them entirely. But this is not the case with ransomware. While some attacks may lead to data damages, the intent is to get money from its victims forcefully. Perhaps this gives you a clue on how ransomware works, but if you are still puzzled, read on to learn more about how ransomware attacks work.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a malicious computer program that encrypts users’ data and limits their access. Once the malware penetrates a computer, it looks for the essential files, encrypts, and makes them unreadable before displaying an on-screen message asking the victim to pay some money to purchase a unique decryption key. Most attacks will further leave a warning about destroying data if the victim fails to pay the ransom promptly. The payments are often requested in Bitcoins.

How Does Ransomware Attacks Work?

You already know the impact of ransomware. That’s what it does, and the attacks are launched through phishing and other methods of spreading malware. Here is how attackers plot ransomware attacks:

Develop the Codes

Ransomware malware is a malicious code developed by cybercriminals. So before the attacks are carried out, the attackers start by creating the codes, which will be eventually spread to their targets.

Look for a Host File

There’s no visible computer program known as ransomware. The attackers create the codes and look for a host to push the malware out. Of course, no one will willingly install a visible ransomware program, so the attackers embed the codes on email attachments such as docs files, Zip files, spreadsheets, PDF, etc. These attachments appear to house different information but contain the malware. Ransomware can also be hidden in software and URLs.

For attachments and URLs, they are sent along with deceitful emails, which may appear to come from someone you know–friends, business associates, clients, service providers, etc. This is a trick to have you open the attachment or click on the link. Of course, the malware may find shelter on your computer once you open the attachment on the link, unless you have an active anti-malware that can block advanced threats.

The software can also send you into ransomware attacks. Examples of such software are cracked ones. The author of the cracked software may hide malware inside to monitor and attack your computer after installing it. On the other hand, cracked software does not receive updates from the original developers, and this leaves it open for attacks.

Pop-ups websites can also pass ransomware to your computer. Some criminals create websites for scam purposes but add other content that may attract visitors. If you stumble on such websites, you may see a pop up asking you to update an application on your computer or scan your device to get rid of malware. You do instead invite a malware by following the pop-ups instructions.

All these methods are used in hosting ransomware before spreading to computer users.

Takes Over Victims Computer

At this time, the malware is already on a victim’s computer. So the creator can view the computer files and hovers around to find folders with essential data. The next action is a complete restriction of the user’s access after encrypting data and requesting a ransom. This is the time most victims realize that they are attacked by ransomware malware.

The payment information is displayed on the screen of the attacked computer and other instructions. For most victims, payment is imminent, as the codes are usually tricky to crack. Once payment is made, the attacker releases the decryption key to the victim. However, there are few cases where victims couldn’t get the decryption key after payment of ransom.

How Can You Identify Ransomware?

Unfortunately, the pre-ransomware period is usually undetectable, or rare to detect if you rely on traditional security systems. As you may know, traditional security systems such as antiviruses/anti-malware programs do not block most advanced malware, and ransomware attackers are developing more difficult codes.

You need advanced security systems to protect against sophisticated malware. Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP) can offer you the best advanced endpoint protection capable of blocking tricky malware. You can learn more about AEP here.

Closing Thoughts

Ransomware attacks can cost you huge money, slow your business, and perhaps send you off business. Ensure you deploy the best security systems to protect your data. Also, make sure to back up your data.

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 a malware enters a computer, the user may have compromised. This is through downloading software or opening 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 attacker may disguise to appear like your social contact, or hack into your friends account to send messages with malicious attachments. Opening any such attachment can result 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.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

What Does Ransomware Allow 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.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

What is Ransom Software?

What is a Malware Scanner

You may want to call it software, but ransomware isn’t actually a software but a malicious code embedded in another software. Ransomware software is a term commonly used to point to ransomware malware.

If you’re looking to learn more about ransomware and its mode of attacks, you will surely find this article useful.

What is Ransomware?

There is no software called ransomware, but ransomware creators do hide the codes in compromised software. This results in ransomware attacks once you install such software on your computer.

Ransomware is like every other malware you may have heard of, but its attack differs from others. Computer viruses and Trojans, as you may know, causes a bug on your computer and may even corrupt and damage your files. But this is not the case with ransomware, the man behind this malware wants to steal money from you. You can liken this to a physical kidnap attack—where the captors kidnap a victim and demand for a ransom before setting the victim free. This is exactly what ransomware does to a victim’s computer.

Ransomware is even worse—given that the criminals may hold an entire company or healthcare facility to ransom, ceasing access to all sensitive data until a payment is paid. And this is no little money. A ransomware attack on the Baltimore City government in 2019 sucked about $18 million before normalcy was restored.

Ransomware Process

The process begins with developing the malware. No one monitors or knows about this process as it is usually a concealed plan by the ransomware thieves. They create malware and get ready to find their victims.

This is usually through phishing scams. You may receive a well-scripted email about a business deal with an attachment. The rest may be the story about ransomware attacks once you open such attachments.

Basically, the criminals broadcast emails randomly, and if you’re a target, they may customize the emails to get your attention. The trick includes impersonating someone you know—business associates, clients, staff or your service providers. You want to be careful of clicking any attachment quickly without vetting the email identity. This may push you into a ransomware attack, so be careful.

Apart from emails, malicious codes are also hidden in attachments on social media content, software, pop-ups on webpages, etc. Avoid downloading software from random websites.

The Attack

How do you know you’re under a ransomware attack? Unfortunately, the initial stages of ransomware are usually undetectable. If you’re able to notice the malware on your computer before it fully settles, you do get rid of it before it unleashes its mayhem.

The attack begins with a compromise—opening an infected attachment or downloading software containing the malware. Once the malware is on your computer, it opens up your data to your captor. The criminal then views all your data and finds the important ones to encrypt.

Ransomware malware can hide on your computer for several months, perhaps studying your data to know where to strike. After receiving enough information, your data may be encrypted with a unique decryption key. You need this key to regain access to your data, and that’s where the criminals demand money. They deny you access to your files and leave a notification on your computer screen requesting for the ransom with details on how to make payment.

Most ransomware victims have to pay the ransom to get regained access to their data. Ransomware criminals have often requested Bitcoin payment. This is why ransomware criminals aren’t trailed easily. As you may know, Bitcoin is decentralized and doesn’t record users’ identities.

Can’t Antiviruses Detect and Defend Against Ransomware?

Ransomware is classified as an advanced threat. Such threats have deceptive means of penetrating your computer. It might even go fileless, which is why antiviruses and firewalls may not detect them. However, cybersecurity remains the best means to tackle malware attacks. While you get antiviruses, you also want to invest in advanced security systems.

What Security Systems Are Termed Advanced?

There are high-end security systems that use advanced security technology to identify and block tricky malware. A typical example is the Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP).

This gives you total protection against any malware, especially malware that tricks traditional security systems. You can learn more about AEP here.

Wrap Up

Even though you have the best security systems, including Advanced Endpoint Protection, keeping malware attacks at a distance is the best practice. You should avoid opening unverified attachments and downloading from untrusted websites.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

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 Ransomware Attacks Occur?

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.

What is Ransom Virus Attack?

Super Trojan horse

First off, ransomware is not a virus but malware. However, it’s okay for those without a good knowledge of malware to refer to ransomware as a virus, but it’s not technically correct. Both ransomware and virus are different types of malware, so ransomware is what it is, and the same applies to viruses.

With that said, let’s now look at what ransomware attack entails. Note that the explanation above provides the correct way to address the ransomware virus attack. So, going forward, we’ll replace “ransomware virus attack” with ransomware attack. That clears the puzzle, right? If so, let’s head right into the main discourse.

What is Ransomware Malware Attack?

Ransomware attacks are mainly targeted on computer users in companies, government agencies, and even individuals. Like every other malware attack, ransomware enters a computer through a compromised software or other types of computer programs. However, ransomware attacks take a different approach from other malware. Its original intent is not to steal your data or damage them as other malware does but to cease the data from the owners.

Once the ransomware can encrypt your files and deny you access, a notification is displayed on your screen requesting for payment before you can regain access to your computer. The notification also includes payment details, and it’s usually via Bitcoin.

Why Bitcoin?

The attackers are wary of being trailed and apprehended, so they demand payment in Bitcoins. As you may know, Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency and doesn’t record users’ authentic information. This is why ransomware criminals have often requested payment with it.

What Defines a Compromised Computer?

A computer with an infected software or other computer applications is compromised. Most computers are infected through phishing, a method used by ransomware criminals to scout for victims.

The process involves sending emails with attachments containing malicious codes. If you open any of the attachments, you’re on your way to experiencing a ransomware attack. Aside from emails, ransomware criminals also use cold calls to hunt for victims. They’d call you claiming to be any of your service providers to get sensitive information from you.

Also, one can be a victim of a ransomware attack through cracked software. Most of them are made available by scammers. Perhaps you do think they are doing you well, but they aim to monitor your activities through a malware in the software.

Password guessing can also be used; that’s why you need to set strong passwords and refrain from using the same passwords for multiple accounts. Other methods of ransomware spreading include pop-ups from websites, public Wi-Fi, and infected social media content.

Can Ransomware Penetrate a Computer with Antivirus/Anti-malware and Firewalls?

In recent years, there have been several cases of ransomware attacks all over the world. But does it mean the victims had no security systems on their computers? Chances are they do have, but ransomware creators may have made the malware more sophisticated to trick traditional security systems. As you may know, some malware like fileless malware is rarely halted by traditional security systems. So, antiviruses and firewalls do not give you %100 protection against ransomware and other sophisticated malware.

Though they may block some attacks, it doesn’t happen all the time, especially when the malware takes a fileless path.

How Can One Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

While antiviruses/Anti-malware may not be active all the time, you still need to defend against malware attacks. More so, you need to stick cybersecurity rules such as:

Keeping all your computer programs updated: this helps defend against unpatched security vulnerabilities. Most updates are meant to secure the program more.

Use stronger passwords to avoid password guessing. Do not repeat the same passwords for all accounts.

Backup your data in case all your security system fails. Data backup can help you recover your data after a disaster. You may even refuse to pay for ransomware attacks if your data are backed up.

Overall, invest in advanced endpoint security systems. These security systems use AI, IoT, and other security technology to identify and block advanced threats.

Wrap Up

Ransomware attacks can be disastrous. Even though you may regain access to your computer, the duration of the attack may have caused damage to your business, such as losing clients. Not to mention the money you do pay to the criminals. The best thing is to avoid being a victim of ransomware attacks.

If you’re a business owner, ensure you keep your employees updated about cybersecurity. Ransomware criminals may also target your employees to hack into the company’s database. The bottom line is to take cybersecurity seriously to avoid being a victim of ransomware attacks.

Related Resources

Free Website Malware Scanner

What Does Ransomware Do?

New Endpoint Protection

It might not have happened to you, but you probably have heard of a malware that takes over a computer and locks the original owner out. It goes beyond affecting a single computer data; ransomware does affect the entire computers in a network of computers, crippling activities until a ransom is paid.

What does ransomware do? Ransomware is what it is! You can liken it to societal kidnap activities—the criminals capture a victim and ask for a ransom. Ransomware is the cyber version of kidnapping—the target here is your sensitive data to have you pay the ransom.

When Did Ransom Begin?

Though ransomware was not effective until 2005, the first attack started way back in 1989. Statistics say the first ransomware malware was created by Joseph Poop, an evolutionary biologist trained in Harvard University. At the time, it wasn’t called ransomware but AIDS Trojan and PC Cyborg. Popp spread over 20,000 diskettes to attendees in a conference organized by the World Health Organization in Stockholm.

Attendees were tricked into believing the diskettes contained information about AIDS, but the contents were malicious codes. The codes locked the victims’ file names and hid files directories, and a sum of $189 was requested from each victim to get their data back.

However, this attack was neutralized as tools became available to decrypt the file names. But this is not the case with recent ransomware attacks. Attackers have developed sophisticated codes that are extremely difficult to crack, leading to successful ransomware attacks.

Most victims have been made to pay huge sums (usually in Bitcoins) before recovering their data.

Why Do Ransomware Criminals Demand Bitcoin Payment?

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency. That means the money isn’t regulated by the government, banks or any third party. More so, the system doesn’t record users’ identities, which makes it difficult to trail the users.

How Does Ransomware Enter a Computer?

Cybercriminals have different methods of launching ransomware attacks. This includes;

Phishing

This method involves tricking computer users into opening a link containing malicious codes. This happens mostly through emails and social media content. The attackers send emails to their targets, with malicious links and clicking the link invites the malware to your device.

Unpatched Programs

Cybercriminals have often taken advantage of unpatched computer programs to carry out their attacks. You need to check for updates and ensure you keep your programs updated. Most developers release updates from time to time, patching all security vulnerabilities.

Free Software

You should be wary of free software, especially from untrusted websites. You can also call this cracked software. Most of them are loaded with malicious codes to monitor your activities and subsequently launch an attack.

Password Guessing

If you have weak passwords, it’s easy for cybercriminals to guess your password, which may lead to malware attack. The attacker may install several malicious codes into your system to cease your data, which is ransomware afterwards.

Weak passwords could be your name, date of birth, mobile number and the likes. Ensure you mix up things—alphanumeric and special characters. Also, avoid using the same password for many accounts.

Compromised Vendors

Some vendors’ computer programs are infected but unknown to them. Buying software from such vendors opens you up to ransomware and other malware attacks. But how can one spot a compromised vendor? This is not possible as some vendors may not even know what is going on. You need to deploy antiviruses and other security systems to protect your devices.

Can Ransomware Be Stopped?

Preventing ransomware attacks requires cybersecurity. However, attackers have devised more advanced ways to push their malware out. Computer users need to be more careful to avoid being victims. As you have read, a non-compromised computer can hardly be infected by malware. But there is still the case of compromised vendors selling infected software.

Cybersecurity can help you prevent any form of malware. You should:

  • Get the best antiviruses/anti-malware.
  • Update all your software recurrently.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi.
  • Log out of public computers after using them.
  • Use advanced security systems.

Wrap Up

Now that you know what ransomware does to its victim, you want to ensure you don’t become one of its victims as the experience isn’t a pleasant one. No one really wants to be a victim, and at the same time, attackers are in desperate hunts for victims. You need to take cybersecurity seriously to ensure you don’t become a victim.

While you invest in traditional security systems, also consider advanced security systems to help you block advanced threats like ransomware.

Ransomware Malware Attack Statistics

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

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