Ransomware What you need to know

Tutorial on Ransomware…. What You Need to Know About this Malware!

Ransomware is a type of malware that allows attackers to locate and encrypt your most important data, information and private records from your systems. To encrypt means to turn your sensitive information into unintelligible data. It has been around for a long time but has recently resurfaced with a new vengeance. The first known malware extortion attack, called the “AIDS Trojan" written by Joseph Popp was presented in 1989. The goal of ransomware is almost always about getting payment. The victim is pressured into paying for the ransomware to be removed, which does not always occur, plus the attacker has a convenient payment system that is extremely hard to trace.

Why has Ransomware Resurfaced?

The reason ransomware has resurfaced in recent years is because it has become cheaper than ever to build, plus ransom is easier to collect and attackers have many distribution channels. Once the cyber criminal has hijacked information, they will offer to provide the means to decrypt the information, but only if you pay a ransom, hence the name ransomware.

Cybercriminals Exploit a Multitude of Strategies

These cybercriminals take advantage of many different strategies as a means of inserting the ransomware. The methods they use generally include email, network traffic, user behavior, and application traffic. If a business is unprotected, which means they are without a comprehensive security system, they are left in an extremely vulnerable situation and a target for cyber criminals. Statistically speaking, 47% of businesses have been affected by ransomware, with 59% of ransomware delivered via email attachments and embedded URLs.

Statistics Reported by the FBI

The FBI has stated that ransomware attackers collected more than $209 million in ransom during the first three months of 2016, making it 10 times higher than activities in all of 2015. Naturally, this type of attack wreaks havoc on a business, causing tremendous disruption, loss, enormous costs and a diminished brand.

How to Avoid Threats

If an attack is suspected or detected, in its early stages it takes some time for encryption to take place. Further damage to data could be stopped with immediate removal of the malware (a relatively simple process) before it has completed. To avoid the threat of Ransomware, security experts can help with precautionary measures such as using software or other security policies to block payloads from launching. These types of software also help to prevent viruses and infection. Another strategy is keeping "offline" backups of data stored in locations that are unreachable from any potentially infected computer. In addition, installing security updates issued by software vendors can mitigate these vulnerabilities. It is also critically important to exercise caution when opening email attachments and links.

Tools that Decrypt Files

There are a number of tools that can decrypt files locked by ransomware, although sometimes successful recovery may not be possible. It is for that reason that prevention and preparation through security experts is always the best course of action. While it may appear to be an unnecessary expense, investing in mobile attack protection will stop malicious applications from intruding on your business environment. Given that ransomware is on the rise, it is always the most important strategy to implement.

Check List of Precautions:

  • If you have been attacked, contact the FBI as a necessary first step. You can reach out by visiting www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field to contact your closest office
  • As soon as you are aware that you have been attacked, disconnect from the network and bring the infected equipment to an IT expert or contact a company that deals with cyber threats. (Keep in mind that only those that are experienced security professionals should reboot the computer)
  • You should determine the scope of the situation and how you plan to respond, i.e., the type of attack, who is compromised, whether you plan to pay the ransom
  • Deciding on whether to pay the ransom is complex and may require consulting with law enforcement and an attorney
  • Although you may be offered free decryption tools, in all likelihood they won’t work. Attackers are always updating their ransomware so the free tools become out of date quickly and won’t work.
  • After an attack, you should have a full-on security assessment to locate any threats that may still be lingering. Pay careful attention to where your security may be lacking.
  • Become educated about your vulnerability to cyber-crime and make sure your team is fully trained on what to look for and how to handle it. Incorporate practice sessions so everyone is fully prepared.
  • Don’t ever take down your guard. With cyber-crimes on the increase, you must have security solutions that keep you up to date and those should include analyzing, identifying and blocking ransomware from penetrating your system. Look for trustworthy experts like Q Innovations that provide security solutions that address and handle any new or emerging threats. If you take care and consider these tips, it will keep you safe and protected from cyber threats.