The cyber threat is very real; a breach in cyber security resulting in the theft, loss or corruption of data, occurs every second in businesses and homes around the globe.One of the most prevalent cyber threats today is a particularly malicious model of attack known as ‘Ransomware’.
A successful Ransomware attack is designed to prevent the unfortunate victims from accessing their file data, along with potentially other systems & databases, by 'securing' out access. The hackers that exploited your system have encrypted the system entirely and only they hold the key. The motive of a cyber-criminal for infecting any system with ransomware is always extortion.
If you want to get your data back, the hacker will place a demand upon you for payment to release access to your files. Payment is typically demanded through the untraceable currency of bitcoin, which allows the hacker to hide their identity.
How does it work?
Many of today's cyber-criminals are not technical masterminds. They can buy ready-made programs for conducting such an attack from other hackers on the dark web. The hacker can then make modifications according to their needs and distribute it. The distribution of the Ransomware is typically seen through infected devices being connected to a clean network, unsafe websites, and most commonly, through cleverly tailored emails - fooling the user into unwittingly letting the hacker in to the network.
The various kinds of Ransomware
The three main forms of ransomware:
- Scareware – Least threatening
Unlike its horrifying name, this 'attack' is probably the least threatening. This ransomware is purely a false notification alert that will spam you with messages - threatening you to pay or else the malware will wipe your computer. However, as you’ve probably figured out, it has no control over your system at all as you should still have access to all of your file data.
- Screen Lockers - Damaging
This ransomware will entirely block you out of your system. Once you start your PC, you will be welcomed with an unwanted message stating that you’ve been locked out, driving you to now pay a hefty price tag to get your system back.
- Encrypting Ransomware – Devastating
The worst kind of ransomware that will encrypt your files and keep them locked unless the ransom is paid. If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer this attack, there is no other way to retrieve the data short of paying the hacker. Once it’s encrypted, it’s almost gone for good.
Measures you can take to prevent ransomware
There is no silver bullet, the good news is you can reduce your chance by creating a layered approach to security and protecting yourself and the organisation from ransomware. The info-graphic below should have a tick in each box, and you should know they are happening.
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