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The Dangers of Ransomware – What to Know

Posted by Roger Carson

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to both individuals and businesses, making it a popular topic in security blogs. Malicious software locks down a device and then demands a ransom payment, usually bitcoin, to unlock it.

Ransomware: what are the things that you should do about it?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds files for ransom, demanding money in return for releasing them. It is designed to hold files hostage so that the victim cannot delete or modify them because they are encrypted, and the only way to get the files back is to pay the ransom.

To understand ransomware better, here are the following things that you should know about the dangers of it:

  1. Ransomware always disguises itself as legitimate software. Traditional ransomware, or malware that holds some files hostage until a ransom is paid, is always disguised as legitimate software to scare the user into paying. But it’s not the only malware posing as legitimate software. As the big names in technology grow, they are coming under attack by cybercriminals who use the same tactics as classic ransomware but with a different objective: to make money. Ransomware is one of the many potential targets that hackers, cybercriminals, and other malicious actors are targeting. With the big names in the industry, they are getting better at disguising themselves as legitimate software. For businesses, it’s not only important to implement strong security protocols but also to foster a culture of awareness among employees. One effective strategy to achieve this is through the adoption of a Cyber Security Awareness Training Platform. Such platforms provide comprehensive training and resources designed to educate staff about the nuances of cyber threats like ransomware, equipping them with the knowledge to identify and mitigate potential risks.
  2. Ransomware can affect Linux, Mac, and Windows, too. A new virus has emerged, one that can encrypt files on all three major operating systems. It is called the WannaCry ransomware and is one of the most widespread threats of its kind. This type of virus is scary: it goes after its victims’ most important data, making it hard to recover files.
  3. No matter how secure your storage solutions (flash drives, remote backups, or the latest operating system) are, they’re not bulletproof against ransomware. These malicious programs have become incredibly sophisticated, capable of encrypting important files, locking systems, demanding money, and even threatening to delete data. The best defence is in being proactive: notify authorities right away if you suspect an attack. Also, always keep backups of your important documents and files in a safe place. Now if you did not make a backup, then you would need the expertise of a digital forensics investigator. They can retrieve your encrypted data, and implement robust defences to safeguard against future ransomware assaults. Ultimately, prevention is always better than cure. So, make it a habit to routinely verify that your system has adequate protection against ransomware, malware, and other cyber threats.
  4. Beware of the Total Disk Encryption of Petya. In late May, the world was hit by one of the most severe ransomware attacks ever recorded: Petya. This ransomware attacked computers running Microsoft Windows and encrypted the hard disks, which are the physical media that store your data. You may ask: Why should I care about this? Petya was not a hacker group, as it is often believed. It was a private group of cybercriminals. They brought their attack to the world’s mainstream by publishing the code for Petya on the internet to spread the infection. It’s good that this ransomware had been cracked and there’s a way to rescue the encrypted data, but it is still better to be really mindful of these things.
  5. Ransomware is also a big risk to your smartphone and tablets, particularly because of their smaller size and less protected operating systems. It can be downloaded from an app store, by visiting a malicious website, or through an email attachment. And once the malware is on your phone, it will encrypt all your files and then demand payment to restore your files. This could lead to a tricky situation where you’re vulnerable to further attacks unless you take the necessary steps. So, the first thing you should do is find a company that provides endpoint security for mobile devices. This can keep your mobile device safe from prying eyes and those wishing to steal data.

Ransomware is one of the worst threats to businesses, even though it has been around for a long time. You may have never heard of ransomware before, or you may have heard of it but did not realize it was a concern. No matter your experience, you should know about the dangers of ransomware.

What should you do to avoid the dangers of ransomware?

One of the most dangerous types of cyber-attacks is ransomware, where an attacker encrypts a victim’s files and demands the victim pay the ransom in bitcoins in order to have access to them again. While there is no “one size fits all” solution to losing files encrypted by ransomware, there are a number of things you can do to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.

One of the most common ways to avoid this kind of attack is to establish regular, automatic file backups. Anti-malware software is also an important part of any security system, as it helps prevent attacks from spreading to your other devices.

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