Understanding Ransom ware and its potential Threat to IT security

Ransomware is commonly defined as malicious software or malware that threatens to block access or publish the data or a computer system until the attacker gets paid by the victim of the ransomware attack. Some simple ransomware locks systems so that they can be reversed easily by a knowledgeable person. But many ransomware attackers use advanced malware, which is termed crypto viral extortion. Crypto viral extortion attack encrypts the data of the victim, makes it inaccessible, and demands a certain amount of money to decrypt them. Ransomware attacks are the most common cyber-attacks in these days of technology. Cybercriminals will target any business or any consumer & the victims of ransomware attacks are not limited to just one industry; they come from all sectors. Several European and North American companies have been the victims of ransomware attacks. Government agencies, as well as IT support, advice not to pay the ransom as paying the attackers may encourage the ransomware cycle

How it works:

Ransomware attacks increased with the growth in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that use encryption techniques to secure and verify transactions and control the creation of new currency units. Cybercriminals have grown very innovative over the years by requiring close to impossible payments to trace, and that helps the attackers remain anonymous. You can hire IT support firms to help you with the security of your data and operating systems. The most prevalent ransomware is of two types, encryptors, and screen lockers. Encryptors encrypt data on a system which makes the content useless without the description key. On the other hand, screen lockers use a simple lock screen to block access to the system, saying that it is encrypted. The victims of ransomware attacks are notified on a lock screen to buy a cryptocurrency (encryptors and screen lockers) to pay the ramson fee to the attacker; once paid, the customer receives the decryption key. However, the decryption is not guaranteed as multiple sources have reported varying success chances after paying the ramson. Some ransomware attacks install malware on the system even after the payment is made and the data is released. Previously, ransomware attackers were focused on personal computers and increased targeting business users, and businesses will pay more to unlock their vital systems and resume the work compared to individuals. It starts with a malicious email, and then the user either opens an attachment or clicks on a compromised or malicious URL.

The first thing to do to prevent ransomware attacks is setting up and testing backups and applying for ransomware protection in the security tools. Email protection gateways are the kind of security tools that act as the first line of defense, and secondary defense is endpoints. The system used to detect ransomware command-and-control to alert by calling out to a control server. User training is also significant and is another layer to prevent ransomware attacks. Hospitals and the hospitality industry are at the most risk of ransomware attacks as patients’ lives can be affected. Keep monitoring tools to prevent ransomware attacks.