Ransomware - What is it and how to prevent it?
Ransomware is a type of virus that encrypts the files of its victims.
11:00 20 August 2021
The hacker then charges a ransom or payment from the target in exchange for restoring availability to the files. Users are given information on how to obtain a decryption code by paying a charge. The fees may vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and they are paid in Bitcoin to hackers.
What happens when a computer is infected with ransomware?
Ransomware works by getting access to the system or device and afterwards freezing and encrypting the information saved on it. What causes this to take place? It frequently occurs whenever victims unintentionally install malware via email links and attachments from questionable origins which are usually hackers. Ransomware encrypts your data and stops you from accessing them. This malicious malware effectively keeps your files captive, wreaking damage on a massive scale for major businesses.
Even if a payment is requested, there is no assurance that your content will be returned if you give it. The payment isn't guaranteed to provide you with the decryption key, even if you provide it. That tends to make it difficult to comprehend ransomware.
Who is the intended victim of ransomware incidents?
Without a defined target, ransomware may spread over the internet. However, the design of this file-encrypting virus makes it possible for hackers to specifically select the people or computers they want to hack. Hackers or cybercriminals can use this targeted capability to go after individuals who can or are more probable to cough up bigger ransoms.
The following are the four key target categories and how they could be affected:
- Organisations with a reputation for having a minimal security force
For instance, in the case of universities, there is a notable lack of safety associated with a high rate of file-sharing.
- Enterprises that handle sensitive information
Law companies and other comparable businesses may well be attacked because hackers profit from the legal wrangling that may arise if the ransom information is revealed.
- Organisations that are able and willing to pay promptly
This category includes the banking institutions, government agencies, medical centers, and other comparable organisations that want instant access to their information and may be prepared to pay for it. A good example of this is the 2021 ransomware assault on Colonial Pipeline. Fuel pipeline company Pipeline US resorted to suspending its whole network, costing them $4.4 million in Bitcoin, which the hackers then collected as ransom. A portion of the payment was eventually retrieved.
- Enterprises operating in Western markets
Cybercriminals go after the higher paydays, meaning they target businesses. Because of their higher affluence and usage of personal computers for the simplest of tasks like accessing a simple UK online casino for playing any casino game, the US, the UK, and Canada are mostly targeted.
Guidelines for defeating ransomware
- Anti-virus and anti-malware solutions, and other security measures, may be used to prevent identified payloads from being launched.
- Security experts recommend taking a few precautions to avoid a ransomware attack like storing backups of data in places that are unavailable from any possibly affected machine.
- All critical files should be backed up on a regular basis and isolated from LAN or open networks.
- To preserve fully air-gapped backups, you may utilise Object Lock's unchangeable backup settings. Once the user specifies a period of time, the data is fixed, immutable, and cannot be removed. You may recover non - infected content using your immutable backups fast, restore them, and continue operations without disruption with an immutable data preset to critical.
- Use cyber security and hygiene, like care when accessing links and attachments in emails.
- Deploy the most recent security software updates for your operating system and apps from the software providers.
- Ensure that your mail servers, workstations, and network systems are protected from infection by installing security software.
- Segregate your networks to protect vital systems from malware propagation during an attack. Turn off any network shares that aren't in use.
- To prevent malware out of your networks, educate yourself, your workers, and your family on best practises. Let everyone know about all the newest email phishing schemes and the methods for human manipulation that target people into accomplices.
If you have been victimised by ransomware, what do you do?
Ransomware victims have a variety of methods to recover their files. Take a look at these three:
- Malware should be removed. An alternative approach to complete this task is utilising a decryption program.
- If the crooks are demanding ransom, pay it. But the issue is that cyber criminals are unreliable. Your data may or may not be returned if you pay. There is a serious problem when you give in to these kinds of pressures. Doing so empowers the cyber criminals to engage in more illegal activity.
- Reset your machine to its factory settings to remove the virus. It is highly recommended that you have a copy of your information stored on external media or in the cloud.