Ransomware attacks have been rampant in recent times with many companies battling to stay in operation after experiencing so much damages in the hands of attackers. Many questions have been raised concerning the types of ransomware in existence, how they operate, and who their primary targets are.
It is important to understand that ransomware is mainly staged for a purpose that always boils down to money. Attackers target the most important information of a company to force them to meet a ransom demand. Ransomware is a malware that is used by threat actors to encrypt files after infiltrating a target device, and request for a stated amount mostly in Bitcoin to provide the decryption key to unlock the file.
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The explanation of how ransomware works can be explained in a simple way. Threat actors try to get their malware into the device of the victim. After this, the malware searches for some valuable information or asset on the device and lock it down. In other words, the malware denies users access to some valuable information. Most ransomware exfiltrates data before encrypting the data while others do not exfiltrate data but go straight to encrypting files.
Types of Ransomware
The types of ransomware depend on the type of files they hold. There are two main types of ransomware namely: Crypto ransomware and Locker ransomware.
The locker ransomware is one of the types of ransomware that does not lock files or valuable resources on a device but encrypt the device itself. This ransomware does not allow access to the interface of the device. It locks the user out of the device and gives limited functions to the user. It only allows the user to communicate with the threat actors to discuss how to pay the ransom. The only way users get access to the device is to pay for the decryption key.
The Crypto ransomware operates a little different from the Locker Ransomware. This ransomware as part of the main types of ransomware only locks down valuable resources or important information on a device and demands payment of ransom before an unlocking key is provided. The malware is designed to search through the device for the said information, and after successful identification and encryption, a ransom note pops up asking the victim to make payment to a provided BTC address to get the decryption key. Some notes even provide a comprehensive guide on how to buy Bitcoin online just in case the victim has no idea of it.
How Ransomware Spread (Any of the Types of Ransomware)
Ransomware is spread by threat actors convincing targets to click on a malicious link or visit a malicious website. There are a number of ways this is done and three of them are :
This is a very potent and common method used by threat actors to get ransomware installed on target computers. They use deceptive means to convince targets to visit a website, and after visiting these compromised websites, the ransomware begins to install on the computers, find valuable information and encrypt them, or lock down the device depending on types of ransomware.
Malicious Links Through Emails or Social Media
This is a very common method of infecting devices with ransomware. The threat actors in most cases target the weakest link of the security chain which is the employees, convince them to click on a malicious link and begin to execute the malware on the device. Most of these links are sent to targets with a very interesting message about a job offer, global event or any other sensitive issue whiles posing as a legit sender. Others even impersonate service providers while others use fake bank invoices as bait to lure targets to click on a malicious link or download a malicious attachment.
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Pay Per Install
This is another common way ransomware is distributed by threat actors. Most computers are already part of botnets. In this case, they have already been compromised. Threat actors or cybercriminals pay to get access to these devices to install ransomware on them.
Targets of ransomware attacks are mostly companies that host a bunch of customers’ personal information or credit card information.
How to Protect Yourself From Any of the Types of Ransomware
To be able to protect yourself or your company from the ransomware attack, it is important to first understand how they are spread which is explained above. The most effective way to protect yourself is to avoid visiting untrusted websites. A lot of websites on the internet have been set up for this purpose, so only visit trusted sites, and avoid clicking on suspicious links and opening suspicious emails.
Avoid downloading suspicious attachments as well. Always have a complete backup of your important files and never pay for ransom in case you become a victim as your data might have been exfiltrated before your file was encrypted. There is no guarantee that you may get the decryption key after paying the ransom. Similarly, there is no guarantee that the stolen data would be destroyed after paying any amount requested by hackers.
Source: Swift Systems
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