|April 22nd, 2019|
Those who have heard about recent decline in ransomware might feel happy about it. We beg to differ because it still remains a serious threat. Unawareness and unpreparedness towards deadliest malware attack of all can lead to dire consequences.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomeware is one of the creepiest malicious software that pushes the victim to pay ransom to the attacker for not publishing the victim’s data. It usually denies the victim’s access to his own data. Cybercriminals show set of instructions to the users for paying a fee in order to obtain the decryption key.
The ransom amount ranges from few hundred dollars to thousands, leaving the victim in complete dismay.
How Ransomware Becomes Functional? (Working)
Below mentioned three functions work in coherence to leave users data paralyzed.
Different means are used for spreading different ransomware strains. A combination of any drive-by malware ads, leveraging operating system, application vulnerabilities and spreading via document macros can carry out distribution of this malicious software.
2. Captivating Data
Making data hostage includes removal of data from the infected system’s control. Usually, it is done by encrypting data while pretending it to be a garbage bit left in place of the deleted file.
3. Online Payment
After snatching away the hold and control of users from their files, payment instructions are given. While Bitcoin is the direct mode of payment, indirect methods such as downloading digital good or other payments in kind have also come into notice.
Who Are The People Behind These Attacks?
These planned attacks are carried out by groups of professionals. They simply do it for money extortion. These people with criminal mindset want to make easy money and hence, they target organizations and perform various methods to seep in the systems and hostage their data.
Who Are Soft Targets Of Ransomeware Attacks?
Being attacked by ransomware can be completely incidental or attackers can deliberately target some organization. Like In UK, large businesses that are capable of paying huge sums of money for getting their data back are being targeted.
Attackers in recent years have gained access to the systems of large corporates with the help of software and made use of technology to penetrate inside the network. Attackers are not expected to follow a trend and they just act opportunist. Universities are targeted because the IT security system is not hi-tech at such places. Frequent file sharing between users in educational institutes make them easy target of the attackers.
Some organizations are more vulnerable than others because attackers think they will quickly pay the ransom amount for getting fast access to their systems. Mention of hospitals is imperative here. People from medical field are generally in hurry and they cannot afford delaying access to their files. Similarly, government agencies also seek immediate access to their files. Law firms have confidential data in abundance and they also do not want to leak it. Attackers keep on questing for such organizations that cannot suffer leakware attacks.
How to prevent and protect ransomware extortion?
It is believed that “precaution is better than cure. “ Taking special measures, screening their systems against malware attack is a wise act. Digging deep to find out the underlying cause it was found that the prime reason behind paying money to attackers is nothing but the weak cybersecurity in affected organizations.
It is a no brainer that if a business wants to stay protected from ransomware attacks they have to first update the cybersecurity system. For keeping it in place it is necessary to protect remote computer access. By this we mean disabling the system after every use. At the same time one cannot deny the importance of using stronger passwords and two-step authentication. Experts also recommend use of email filters and anti-virus software inclusive of ransomware protection.
Besides the aforementioned steps it is vital for organizations to have regular backup so that even if the original data is hostage of attackers, the show goes on. Moreover, it is to be ensured that the backups are tested and stored away from easy accessibility of the ransomware.
The Bottom Line
Taking the control measures discussed in the post is extremely important as with time attackers will only grow smarter. Organizations need to adapt a proactive approach towards cyber security.