• June 20, 2024
Ransomware - What Every Internet User Needs to Know

What is Ransomware?

Knowing what is ransomware is necessary for your business. Ransomware is malware that locks devices, encrypts files, and presents a screen message demanding to pay a ransom to gain access.

The attack typically starts when attackers gain access to a computer or network. This can be done via phishing emails with attachments that have downloader functionality. Furthermore, by exploiting compromised user credentials to log into enterprise systems using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

Once inside a system, the ransomware will begin encrypting data. It usually starts with the most important files and then moves to less crucial data such as logins, customer personal information, or intellectual property.

When it has encrypted enough data to be valuable, it will send the victim a message that they can regain access by paying a ransom. Some variants designed to target specific organizations, such as utilities and public infrastructure.

These attacks are a good way for attackers to make large sums of money because public institutions often have irreplaceable data and spotty cybersecurity technology, making them more likely to pay the ransom demand.

Other ransomware variants used to mine cryptocurrencies. It require a lot of computing power and are very profitable for the criminals behind them.

This type of malware spread through the same infection vectors as encryptors and screen lockers via chat messages, removable Universal Serial Bus (USB) drives, or browser plugins.

CIS’ Albert Network Monitoring solution provides detection signatures for these types of threats and can quickly detect them when they occur.

What if my computer gets infected with Ransom?

Ransomware is malware that locks victims out of their computers or file shares and demands payment to regain access. Typically delivered via an attachment in a malicious email, dropped by exploit kits or downloaded by malware already on the system.

Once it has infected a computer or file server, ransomware will usually begin encrypting the victim’s data. This process renders the files unusable, and a message then displayed on the computer.

It states the victim’s files decrypted for a certain fee, usually in virtual currency such as Bitcoin. More recent ransomware variants also delete backups to prevent recovery, requiring victims to pay an even higher fee to recover their data.

While older viruses might have simply deleted files or made the screen goofy. Today’s attackers focused on extortion and often include threats to send a victim’s information to 3rd parties, steal passwords. Furthermore, use the infected device as part of a botnet to attack other devices.

When an organization becomes a ransomware victim, all devices connected to the network are potential targets for further attacks. So immediately disconnecting any wireless connectivity at this point is essential.

A strong patch and update program can help keep software up to date and protect against exploit-based ransomware attacks.

What can I do if my computer gets infected?

Several things can be done if your computer gets infected with ransomware. One option is to restore a backup. Another option is to run a malware scan on the device to remove any infection. Finally, you can disconnect the computer from any network connections (wired and wireless) to help prevent the spread of the malware.

Always keep operating systems and software updated with the latest patches. This will reduce the number of vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. Additionally, ensure that your antivirus and antimalware solutions are current with the latest signatures.

Avoid clicking on unsafe links. Often, cybercriminals use phishing emails to spread ransomware, so be very careful when browsing online. Also, don’t connect USB sticks or other devices you don’t trust to your computer.

You can also limit access to files on your computers by using Software Restriction policies. This will allow you to specify which folders an application can read and write to, reducing the chance of attackers accessing critical data. You can also block known malicious Tor IP addresses, which can impede the communication between the ransomware and its C&C server.

It would help if you also considered implementing a policy that disables AutoPlay, which allows digital media to be automatically launched on Windows devices. This can be a great way to prevent infections from running in the background, and it will stop people unknowingly exposing their machines to attacks.

How can I prevent my computer from getting infected?

You do a few things to prevent your computer from getting infected with ransomware. First, use up-to-date antivirus and antimalware software and run regular scans.

Second, back up your data regularly to external media (such as a physical hard drive or cloud storage) and check that those backups work. Third, keep your operating system and applications updated.

This will help plug security holes that hackers use to distribute ransomware. Finally, use an ad blocker in your browser to shield your systems from malvertising and drive-by downloads—two common ways ransomware is distributed.

Some ransomware variants attempt to extort money from victims by locking their systems or files. Screen lockers, for example, display an on-screen alert that states the victim’s device or files have been closed and will remain so unless a ransom is paid.

More recent ransomware variants encrypt files on infected systems and demand payment via virtual currency like Bitcoin. If you discover your computers have become infected with ransomware, shut them down and disconnect them from the Internet.

This will limit their ability to communicate with command-and-control servers. Disconnecting them from the Internet also helps reduce the likelihood of the malware spreading to other machines on your network. Ensure all your employees know what happened and how to avoid becoming a victim of ransomware in the future.

FAQ’s

What is ransomware and how does it work?

Ransomware, a type of malicious software specifically created to block access to files on a user’s computer or within an organization’s network.

What is ransomware and what examples?

Ransomware, a form of malicious software intentionally crafted to extort money from its victims by obstructing or restricting their access to data stored on their computer systems.

What is called ransomware?

Ransomware is a category of malicious software that restricts users from accessing their system, often by either locking the system’s screen or encrypting the users’ files, and demands a ransom payment in exchange for restoring access.

What is a real example of ransomware?

CryptoLocker stands out as one of the early instances of advanced ransomware, pioneering the fusion of both locker and crypto-ransomware techniques.

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