Ransomware: The modern malware

Introduction

In this modern era, computers and other digital machinery are getting attacked by different threats and viruses. These viruses affect the computer's performance can corrupt and delete the user's data. To tackle these viruses, new software is required, which are more modern and can easily handle these threats and viruses. The very new virus that has arrived in these technologies is ransomware. Ransomware is a type of virus or malware that stops a person from accessing their computer or system either by completely encrypting the data, then asking for a ransom payment to regain access to their files kept in their network, payment is made either through credit card or through cryptocurrency.

How ransomware works

There are various ways through which ransomware attacks a computer. The most common one in this scenario is through email-spam (aka Phishing). Email-spam is an unwanted email that comes to your computer via email, and it contains links to different viruses containing websites. It can also take you a word file or pdf containing the virus. Ransomware also enters a computer through social engineering, which tricks people into opening links or attachments which appear as legitimate and most people have no idea that it is a malware or virus entering their system. Another popular way through which a virus breaches a computer is through malvertising. This appears on a person's computer as an ad, and a person simply clicks on it to see what it is and get trapped and have no way out of it.

Types of Ransomware

There are various types of ransomware protection existing in different companies and different computers, but some of the main types are as follows:

Screen lockers

This is where a person is locked out of their computer, and on the monitor a warning appears which shows either an FBI page or some other US department, which looks genuine and official, thus confusing the user and forces him to think that he/she is violated some rule which in reality he has not. It says that you have committed an illegal activity through your computer and it has been detected by the FBI and thus to solve this problem and if you want to get out of this chaos you need pay a significant amount of money. On the other hand, the FBI never demands money, instead, it goes through the legal process, and it never blocks you out of your computer and never invades your privacy.

Encrypting Ransomware

This the most dangerous type of ransomware protection. What happens if hackers take over your computer through hacking and snatch your files and encrypt them and then the payment of money comes in. The reason this is very dangerous is that you cannot get rid of this virus through any kind of security software, nor you can regain access by rebooting or restoring the system. The only way to decrypt the encrypted files is through the payment of the desired money. After all this, one big issue remains is that still there is no guarantee that the cybercriminals will give you the access back after you have paid the money to them which they asked for in the very first place.

Scareware

Scareware is not considered dangerous. This virus is related to security and support scams. In this case, a message pops up on the computer, which shows that malware has been detected on your computer and the only way to get rid of it through the payment of guaranteed money. If you ignore these pop-up messages, they will simply continue to interrupt you, but all your files and programs are safe. If your computer has a legal software to work against these viruses, then you have already paid, which makes it clear that these pop-ups are just there for the sake of money.

Mobile Ransomware

Since 2014 ransomware has also started to appear on mobile phones. Just like computers in mobiles also a message appears saying that illegal activity has been detected and so your phone is getting locked. Also, the message displays that the phone will only be unlocked when you pay the required amount. Mobile Ransomware mostly occurs because of some malicious apps being downloaded on the mobile and to get rid of this malware you need to reboot your phone or either delete that app straight away from the phone.

Ransomware Targets

At the very start, most of the victims targeted by ransomware were small businesses, but this has quickly evolved to targeting large corporations with deep pockets.

Solutions

If ransomware compromises your computer, you should never pay the ransom. If you start spending the demanded money, this will only encourage those criminals, and they will keep on attacking in the future. You should seek the advice of an IT or computer specialist. Another way to stop ransomware and malware is by downloading security software. The security software will scan for all kinds of errors, threats, malware and remove the dangerous, corrupt files. To deal with the screen locking ransomware, you might need to reboot the whole system or scan the system by using a USB drive or bootable CD.

Protection techniques

The best way to protect your computer is by not letting the ransomware and malware enter your computer in the first place. Cybersecurity is a program that guarantees you that they will protect your computer from any kind of infection attacking it. One method in preventing ransomware is by creating cloud storage backups which will provide you with a secure backup of your relevant data, minimizing the damage. You can also buy a USB drive and save your files and data in that device on a daily basis, but you need to make sure that as soon as you transfer data from your computer to that device, you remove it from the hardware otherwise the ransomware will also reach that device and get hold of it. You need to make sure that your software is continually updated.

Last but not least, you need to be very active regarding these threats, malware, errors, and viruses. You need to be educated about all these and be well prepared to compete with this malware. Different institutions provide education and teach you how to deal with all these. Also, a thing or sign which seems suspicious or even there is the slightest chance that it is malware then most probably it is so to stay aware of all this.

Protection regarding businesses

For businesses, it is essential that they educate their employees regarding ransomware. They need to have the technology and software to deal with all the issues that might occur from ransomware. Businesses need to create backup storage where all their important files are saved. Although automatic, someone should be checking the files regularly, because errors have been known to happen, where nothing is actually being backed up.

Conclusion

Ransomware is getting worse day by day, it's essential that you back up your data to the cloud, install scanning software, and update your devices regularly.

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