Malwarebytes describes ransomware attacks as an internet-spread malware that encrypts computer files. Hackers would then hold the encrypted files hostage, demanding money from the file owner in exchange for the files.
However, with the rise of hackers, many information technology companies started to find different ways to strengthen cyber security for public usage. By taking extra precautions, attacks are possible to avoid. Let us begin with the history of ransomware.
Criminal hackers have been using the technique of holding encrypted files hostage in exchange for cash as early as 1989. One of the first ransomware attacks ever documented was a virus released via floppy disk in 1989 known as AIDS trojan (PC Cyborg Virus). The attacker demanded $189 to reveal encrypted files, even though it was only a simple virus utilising symmetric cryptography.
Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands a ransom payment in order to regain access. While some people might think, “a virus locked my computer,” ransomware would typically be classified as a different form of malware than a virus. The payment for the earliest variants of ransomware in the ’80s was instructed to be sent via snail mail. Today, more broad-based individuals are encouraged to make payments through cryptocurrency.
Malicious spam, or malspam, is an unsolicited email that is used to deliver malware. The email might contain booby-trapped attachments, such as PDFs or Word documents. It might also contain links to malicious websites.
Do not click on any unfamiliar attachments. To make sure you do not get ransomware, take drastic measures to prevent it. Do not open links or downloads you were not expecting; make sure your security software is up-to-date; download malware protection and delete suspicious attachments.
Malvertising, or malicious advertising, is the use of online advertising to distribute malware. Phishing scams are one-way hackers can pose as legitimate companies, tricking users into divulging their passwords and other sensitive information.
Spear phishing is a type of hacking that targets specific users, usually the most high-level decision-maker within an organisation. For example, emails about critical conversations scheduled with your CEO or important files from emails that need to be downloaded.
Cybercriminals use social engineering in other types of ransomware attacks, such as impersonating the FBI. All this does is frighten users into paying cyber crooks in order to regain access to their files.
One example of social engineering will be if a ‘threat actor’ collects information from your public social media profiles about your interests, places you visit often, and the type of job you have. Then they send you a message disguised as someone familiar and hope that you will click on it before realising it is not legitimate.
Protect your devices with costly but effective antivirus software. Make sure to back up important data regularly. Finally, if your devices are lost or stolen, change all passwords and other access information immediately to prevent bogus ransom requests.
Strengthening your login process by implementing multi-factor authentication, which requires more than 1 method of identification before granting access to an account and not opening any links or attachments, will also help protect your data.
Here are some of the first few signs that you are facing a ransomware attack: distorted desktop images, files encrypted, lock screen to unlock computer filled with information. You can avoid dealing with ransomware by regularly backing up your hard drive and changing your passwords regularly.
An antivirus software actively takes care and secure data by scanning all parts of the system for viruses, worms, and other malicious programs. Installing an antivirus program is a simple, yet extensive way to become secured against hacks. Updates and advanced scanning is the best weapon against prevention and dealing with ransomware attacks.
Ransomware is an issue that not only threatens businesses. Data security has become one of the most important issues to the majority of companies around the world in recent years. For this reason, it is critical that data is backed up in several places as a ransomware attack can destroy it. It is also recommended to run an anti-malware program on a regular basis and follow the advice on malware warnings.
It may seem like taking extra measures to ensure the safety of your data is lengthy and somewhat tedious, but as the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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