There has been a lot of talks recently about what is known as Ransomware. This is because of the greatest cyberattack in Internet history that happened on May 12th, 2017. You may be aware that there is a Ransomware known as WannaCry that shook the entire world in a matter of minutes.
Its primary goal was to target Europe and Western countries. WannaCry took full advantage of a flaw in the Windows operating system. It was able to take control of a huge number of machines because of this. It had infected roughly 200,000 devices in just a few hours. Even large corporations like Renault and the NHS were impacted. So you can easily understand the potential of Ransomware. If it attacks your system, you might not be able to restore it until you know the details below.
What is Ransomware?
The term "ransom" contains everything you need to know about this problem. Ransomware is an extortion malware that can encrypt your computer and then demand a fee to unlock it. Depending on the type of Ransomware, the entire operating system or specific files get encrypted. The victim is then demanded to pay a ransom.
Ransomware is a sort of sophisticated virus designed with a specific goal in mind. If this malware enters your computer, it will encrypt or lock all of our data and documents in a matter of seconds, as well as prevent you from running your system. In that case, you become unable to open any crucial documents or files. And if you want to open it, you must type a password that is known only to the same Ransomware creator, and you must pay him money in exchange for it.
However, use high-quality Ransomware security software if you wish to lessen the chance of a Ransomware assault. Ransomware attacks can take many different forms and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The vector assault influences the type of Ransomware utilized. It is always vital to examine what is at stake or what data may be eliminated when calculating the magnitude and scope of an assault. Regardless of the form of Ransomware, storing up data ahead of time and properly deploying security tools can drastically lessen the severity of an attack.
Characteristics of Ransomware
- It is extremely tough to crack its encryption, which means it employs several powerful encryption techniques that make it extremely difficult to access. You risk losing all of your data if you do so. It can modify the names of all your files in such a way that you will have no idea which data has been affected.
- It can encrypt any form of a file, including documents, video, audio, and other types of data.
- It can modify the extension of any file.
- Frequently, a notice or a picture appears informing you that you may only access your computer after paying money.
- Because these transactions are performed in Bitcoin, no one can track them. There is also a time restriction for paying the ransom, so the victim has to pay, or the payment amount will be increased.
- They employ cutting-edge algorithms.
- If other computers are connected to the infected one, the chances of them becoming infected grow as well.
- Their list of accomplishments does not stop there; it continues to grow.
How Does Ransomware Work?
First, the person who is being targeted receives an email containing a malicious link; if that user clicks on the link, a little application is instantly downloaded.
Another method is if the user visits a malicious website and downloads something he is unaware of. Ransomware can infect your system from there, even if it isn't there.
The downloader from which the user obtained that application is programmed to submit a request to a list of Domains or Command and Control Servers to obtain a sophisticated Ransomware program. Following that, the C&C Servers that have been contacted respond and send the needed items.
After then, the malware begins its job and encrypts the entire drive, including personal data, sensitive information, and more.
And a pop-up message appears on the screen, stating that your data has been encrypted and that a Decryption Key is required to decrypt it, which may be obtained in return for money. That's how they demonstrate their dominance over your system, and you have no recourse.
Different Types of Ransomware
There are basically two different kinds of Ransomware that can attack your system at any time if not taken preventive measures.
- Locker: A locker Ransomeware does not really destroy your data, instead, it locks you out of your system and asks for the ransom to make it fully operational again. For instance, your mouse or keyboard may get partially disabled while the Ransom window stays operational to pay the money.
- Crypto: If a Crypto-Ransomware enters your system, it will encrypt all your data in a way that you won’t be able to access them further. It generally doesn’t affect the functionality of your system but your photos, videos, saved personal details all are at stake. Yes, the intruders may ask for a hefty amount of money at the cost of freeing your data or not deleting it entirely.
A Few Ransomware Variants:
However, the computer world has faced different Ransomware attacks multiple times. By researching all of them, we could identify a few Ransomware variants. Here, we’ve prepared a list of different Ransomware variants that have caused a huge amount of hindrance already. Have a look.
Ryuk is basically an encrypted Trojan that has attacked Windows users by exposing some vulnerabilities of the OS. It completely disabled the Windows Recovery system and encrypted a huge amount of data from different systems. Since the data was impossible to restore, the targeted US organisations paid a total sum of $640,000.
This is probably the biggest Ransomware attack of all time as it affected almost 230, 000 computers and shook almost 150 countries. It majorly attacked the systems of NHS hospitals in the UK and caused damage of almost 92 million pounds. Users were logged out of their system and received a notification to pay a ransom in Bitcoin. As a whole, WannaCry caused almost $4 billion from the financial market.
Bad Rabbit (2017)
Bad Rabbit was a so-called drive-by attack that made the users install a fake Adobe Flash software in order to overpower their systems. A drive-by attack is when users visit an authentic-looking website that is actually owned by hackers. Running an installer from such a website infects our computer, exactly which was done by Bad Rabbit.
Locky is another crypto Ransomware that also had a devastating effect on the victims. It encrypted almost 160 file types and was spread from system to system with a malicious attachment through fake emails. Many users fell for it and installed the attachment which finally led to another big Ransomware attack. However, this one tends to target the files of designers, engineers, developers, and testers.
Note: Apart from the above list, Ransomware like Shade/Troldesh, Jigsaw, CryptoLocker, Petya, GoldenEye, GrandCrab, B0r0nt0k, Dharma Brr, Fair Ransomware, Mado- all made quite a few headlines at different points in time.
How to Avoid Ransomware on Your Computer
The measures for protecting your PC against Ransomware are shown below. Have a look if you want to keep your system out of the reach of Ransomware.
Use hard disc and cloud storage
Invest in external hard drives. An external hard disc, when used wisely, can be one of the most powerful backup tools you have. When backing up files, plug it in and go offline while the backup is taking place. If you leave your external hard drive connected to a computer while you're online, it's possible that it'll be hacked along with your computer.
Use a safe cloud storage solution to save your files.
If you save your data with a service like Carbonite, Dropbox, or Onenote, you can restore any files hijacked during a Ransomware attack. Simply ensure that your cloud storage service allows you to access past copies of your data so that you can restore them to their pre-Ransomware state. For 30 days, Dropbox, for example, allows you to track changes to all files.
You have a lot of important information on your computers, such as old pictures from college, some unforgettable films, and many crucial work files you don't want to lose. You can store these files and other vital information on any Internet-connected server. On the internet, there are numerous places where you can get free cloud storage and places where you can get paid cloud storage. This way, you can protect your system.
Create a regular backup procedure if you don't currently have one. If you deal with crucial files daily, regularly back them up to an external device or a cloud storage provider. If you back up all of your files on a regular basis, you won't have to worry about losing them if a Ransomware assault occurs. Install a Ransomware blocker.
Install a Ransomware blocker that is specific to Ransomware. You should also install software that protects your machine against Ransomware in addition to the antivirus service. CyberSun Ransomfree and Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware are two well-reviewed free solutions.. Each service requires a one-year subscription.
Update your system and Install browser updates
Regularly update your security software. They won't operate if you don't keep your operating system's security suite, antivirus software, and Ransomware blocker up to date. Almost all Ransomware attacks have targeted Windows; however, a few have attacked macOS.
Install updates whenever they become available, regardless of your machine's operating system. If you're using Windows, go to the Control Panel and check that Windows Automatic Updates are turned on. You can also select to have system updates or auto-update apps installed automatically.
Update browser regularly. Install browser updates and patches as soon as they are available to keep your browser as secure as possible. Your browser, like your operating system, receives updates that include security patches on a regular basis.
Your browser's pop-up blocker and hazardous website detector must both be updated for this to work. Hackers that use Ransomware can hide software in adverts on websites you trust. Enable a pop-up blocker on your browser to lessen the chance of clicking on fraudulent adverts.
A pop-up blocker is a program that prevents pop-up windows from appearing. Ransomware hackers might disguise their software in advertisements on websites you trust. Enable a pop-up blocker on your browser to reduce the chances of clicking on fake advertisements.
Use anti-virus software
Attempt to use your computer's antivirus software. Your antivirus software may be able to stop the Ransomware from encrypting and deleting your files. Please keep in mind that if you have found Ransomware, you may not be able to access your files even after uninstalling them.
Open emails, sites, attachments, files and links with caution
Open questionable emails and links with caution. Malicious links or attachments sent via email are a popular way for Ransomware to spread. Always be cautious when opening an email, attachment, or URL that appears to be suspicious. Simply don't open anything from a firm you don't do business with or someone you don't know if you want to be safe. If you're unsure about something, don't click on it.
Before you open the attachment, double-check the file extension. Before you open any attachment, make it a practice to look at the file extension, which is usually.doc,.pdf, or another abbreviation given after the file name. Right-click an attachment and pick the option to scan for malware from the drop-down menu before opening it.
Avoid visiting any untrustworthy websites. Check for "HTTPS" at the beginning of a website's address whenever you visit it. The "S" stands for secure, and it denotes that the website is protected by encryption.
Things to do immediately in case of a suspicious situation
Any account you're signed in to could be susceptible if your session isn't encrypted. To keep your information safe, input passwords only on encrypted pages, avoid being signed in to accounts for long periods of time and use a new password for each account
If you have opened a questionable file, disconnect immediately. If you clicked on something suspicious, but the Ransomware screen hasn't appeared yet, disconnect from Wi-Fi or unplug your cable connection right away. Because hijacking files take time to encrypt, you might be able to stop a ransomware attack before it finishes.
Disconnecting your workstation can also help secure your network's other computers. In addition to disconnecting the infected PC, you should disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on all machines in your network. Reset your computer to a previous state. On the Mac, Time Machine and on Windows, File History can assist undo the harm caused by Ransomware. Notify the authorities about the address. They can seize the cash and restore the money to you, albeit if you use a prepaid card, this may not be possible.
Your PC should be reset. You will lose all your files, but Ransomware will no longer be on your machine.
Ransomware can lock you out of your computer and encrypt your files, making them unreadable. Your best defence is to back up your files regularly to a secure cloud service or an external hard drive. If you're backing up files to an external drive, disconnect the device from your computer while you're doing so. Install anti-virus and anti-Ransomware software and make sure it's up to date, as well as turn on automatic Windows updates.
If you want to be safe, don't open unusual links or attachments; make sure the websites you visit are secure. Actually, after the window is in place, we frequently forget to update it or are negligent since our system is running well; in this case, we do not bother to update the operating system or other software. Hackers take advantage of your computer, so make sure your operating system is up to date as quickly as feasible.
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