What is the Purpose of Ransomware?


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.

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