Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files and then asks for money in exchange for the decryption key. It’s become more common since the early 2000s, but it was rarely used before then. Over the last few years, however, ransomware attacks have become increasingly widespread due to increased awareness and improved technology.
Why Ransomware Attacks Are on the Rise
Ransomware is becoming a popular form of cyber-attack, in part because it works. The best way to make money on the black market is through drug trafficking or money laundering. However, ransomware is an effective way to achieve this goal. This is because as days pass by our data is becoming more and more crucial and most businesses rely on the data stored in their systems. Approximately 37% of global organizations said they were the victim of some form of a ransomware attack in 2021, according to IDC’s “2021 Ransomware Study.” The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported 2,084 ransomware complaints from January to July 31, 2021. This represents a 62% year-over-year increase.
Why ransomware is so dangerous to an organization
Ransomware can target anyone, from individuals to businesses. It’s easy for ransomware to spread and infect devices on any operating system or device, including desktops, laptops, and servers. And as it targets more devices with greater speed than ever before (thanks in part to IoT), it’s becoming more common for individuals and businesses of all sizes—including healthcare providers, schools, and universities—to become victims of ransomware infections.
Between November 2020 and October 2021, the professional sector ranked first among the global industry sectors most targeted by malware attacks. During the measured period, 1,234 malware incidents occurred within the industry. The information sector was second, with 775 such incidents. The manufacturing industry followed becoming a target of 621 malware attacks.
Because there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to stopping this type of attack from spreading throughout your organization’s network infrastructure (and beyond), we recommend that you consider your options carefully before deciding what steps should be taken next.
How ransomware attacks happen:
The initial infection of your computer is usually pretty mundane. Common routines like clicking on an email attachment or visiting a legitimate website can bring malware right into your system. Malicious software, apps, files, and websites can all be used to send you malicious code that will then take over your computer. The ransomware encrypts all our files by changing the file extensions. For Example, file.docx will be renamed to file.ex.virus and even if you try to rename the file it won’t happen since it’s encrypted with a special code and the hacker demands payment to decrypt them—or else you’ll lose access forever!
According to a survey, 54 percent of responding MSPs indicated that phishing scams were the most common cause of ransomware infection.
Once the virus infects one computer, it can spread quickly across a network.
Once the virus infects one computer, it can spread quickly across a network by exploiting vulnerabilities in the network.
Ransomware can also spread through a network by infecting networked computers.
Why does ransomware use bitcoin
Early versions of ransomware asked for money to be wired via Western Union, but nowadays they just use cryptocurrency. It’s the most secured payment system. If you were a victim of ransomware, you know, that most of them demand the ransom amount in the mode of cryptocurrency – usually bitcoins. Transactions made in cryptocurrency are almost untraceable. Also, there are special services to anonymize your bitcoin traffic. They break the original payment into several parts, send them to different accounts, and then transfer them again and again. After this procedure, the chance to catch a hacker is very, very low.
A survey conducted with 1,263 companies found that 80 percent of victims who submitted a ransom payment experienced another attack soon after, and 46 percent got access to their data but most of it was corrupted. (Cybereason, 2021)
What steps should I take to prevent a ransomware attack?
Ransomware is a malicious software program that infects your computer and holds it hostage, demanding payment in exchange for removing or decrypting the files. It’s important to recognize the signs of ransomware infection early on so you can act fast if needed.
Updated security patches
Keep your computer up-to-date with security patches: When you have an older operating system, like Windows 7 (or older), it may not be receiving updates as newer versions of Windows do. That means that hackers will have greater access to vulnerabilities within your system and can exploit them more easily than if they were patched before being attacked—which is why keeping up with regular updates is vital!
Emails from unknown sources
Don’t click on links in emails or download attachments from unknown sources: Emails should come from people whom we know well enough that we feel comfortable opening them without thinking twice about what might happen next; however, some malware creators use legitimate-looking email addresses when sending out their messages containing attachments full of viruses. Which then infects computers across entire networks once clicked upon by unsuspecting users who think nothing bad could happen just because someone wrote out their name at last minute rather than using some random number generator instead.”
Make sure your data is always protected by backups, in case your computer becomes infected with ransomware and decryption is impossible. Use an external hard drive and be sure to disconnect it from your computer after creating the backup. If your hard drive is connected when the ransomware becomes active, the data on the drive will also be encrypted. You should back up your data in this way at regular intervals.
Track background running applications
Keep an eye on the processes of the system and the apps running in the background. To do that just close all running apps and open the process section in the task manager. In the case of malware, you’ll see in the process section that your disk or memory is being used up more than normal. Detect the process using the memory, run a full scan using your antivirus and delete the virus manually if possible.
Ransomware is a serious threat, and it’s growing at an alarming rate. If you suspect that your system has been infected with ransomware, take the necessary steps to get rid of it before any damage is done.
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