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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.
  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. Databases, drives, and backups are not immune from ransomware. You could have the world’s most secure flash drive, a mirrored backup at a remote storage facility, or the most up-to-date version of your operating system. Still, all of that protection could be meaningless if your system is infected with ransomware. Modern ransomware has evolved into a highly sophisticated form of malicious software. It can encrypt files, lockdown systems, demand money, or threaten to delete data. Remember that the best way to protect yourself from ransomware is to notify your local authorities immediately and have backups of your important documents and files stored safely.
  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. Ransomware is a particularly dangerous threat for mobile devices because of their smaller size and less protected operating systems. Ransomware can be downloaded from an app store, by visiting a malicious website, or through an email attachment. Once the malware is on your phone, the malware will encrypt all your files and then demand payment to restore your files.

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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