Ransomware or malware prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and requires payment of a ransom to gain access to them again. The first ransomware variants were created in the late 1980s, and the amount had to be made by mail. Today, ransomware creators ask for payments made using cryptocurrencies or credit cards.
How Can you Get Infected?
Ransomware can infect your processor in several ways. Today, one of the best standard methods is through malicious spam, which are unsolicited messages used to send malware via email. The email message may include bogus attachments, such as PDFs or Word documents. It may also contain links to malicious websites.
Malspam uses social work to trick people into primary attachments or click on legitimate links, appearing to come from a trusted institution or friend. Cybercriminals employ social engineering in other types of ransomware attacks, for example, posing as the FBI to scare users into paying money to unlock files.
Types of Ransomware
There are three key types of ransomware, ranging from “somewhat annoying” to “Cuban Missile Crisis” level danger. They are the following:
Scareware is not so scary. It includes fake security programs and bogus tech support offers. You might receive a pop-up message informing you that malware has been detected and that the only way to get rid of it is to pay. If you don’t, you will likely continue to be bombarded with pop-up messages, but your files are safe.
A legitimate computer security software program would not address customers in those terms. Also, if you don’t have a program from that company installed on your computer, they don’t have to be monitoring you for a ransomware infection. And in case you had such security software, you would not have to pay for the removal of the disease since you have already paid the price of the software for it to do precisely that job.
With these, the alert turns orange. If screen-locking ransomware gets on your computer, it will prevent you from using your PC completely. When you turn on your computer, a full-screen window appears, often accompany by an official-looking FBI or US Department of Justice emblem, telling you that illegal activity has been detect on your computer and that you should pay a fine. However, the FBI would never act like this or demand any payment from you for carrying out illegal activity. Should you be suspect of hacking, in possession of child pornography, or any other computer crime, the FBI would follow the proper legal channels.
It is the one that hijacks your files and encrypts them, demanding payment to re-decrypt them and return them to you. This type of ransomware is so dangerous because once the cybercriminals get hold of the files, there is no security or system restore software capable of bringing them back. Unless you pay the ransom. And even if you pay for it, there is no guarantee that the cybercriminals will return your files to you.
Who are Their Creators Attacking?
When ransomware was introduce, its first victims were private systems (ordinary people). However, cybercriminals realized their full potential when they deployed ransomware for businesses. Ransomware was so successful against companies, even shutting down production. And causing data and profit losses, that its creators targeted most of their attacks. By 2016, 12.3% of global enterprise detections were ransomware, compared to just 1.8% of international consumer detections. In 2017, 35% of small and medium-sized companies had experienced a ransomware attack.
What to do if there is an Infection
If you realize you have been infect with ransomware, the number one rule is never to pay the ransom. It would encourage cybercriminals to launch additional attacks against you or others. However, it is possible to recover some encrypted files using free descriptors.
If you want to defeat an infection with crypto-ransomware, you need to be vigilant. You notice that the system slows down for no apparent reason, turn it off and disconnect it from the Internet. If the malware is still active once you start it up again, it will not be able to send or receive instructions from the command and control server. Without a key or way to get pay, the malware will lie dormant. Then, download and install a security product and run a full scan.
How to Protect Yourself from Ransomware
Security experts approve that the best way to protect yourself against ransomware is to avoid infection. Although there are methods to deal with a ransomware infection, they are imperfect solutions. Often requiring technical knowledge that the average user does not possess. Therefore, this is what we recommend to users to avoid the consequences of ransomware attacks.
Ransomware is malware from crypto virology that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block its access unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system without damaging any files, more advanced malware uses a technique called crypto viral
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