Of all the Internet security threats, ransomware is among the most dangerous. It is a method used by hackers to profit and violate the security and privacy of the victim. There are different types, and it is essential to know how they work. Here is about it.
Why are ransomware attacks dangerous?
Ransomware is rapidly becoming the dominant tool for cybercriminals, who use it to get the most out of their victims through the dual-threat of paralyzing business systems and extorting stolen sensitive data. But are organizations ready to confront this threat? According to the Aon Cybersecurity Report 2021, only 31% of those surveyed report having adequate business resiliency measures against ransomware.
Ransomware is a critical risk for today’s businesses; moreover, the frequency, complexity, and impact on the business activity of organizations of attacks by such programs have increased significantly in recent years. Malicious software causes significant financial damage, disrupts business processes, and damages reputation.
So, what is a ransomware attack? It can be said that the hacker injects malware into the victim’s system. It will cause hardware malfunction, depending on the type. For everything to work normally again, the victim must pay a financial ransom. Typically, cybercriminals encrypt the files or systems of victims. It makes it impossible for the user to open programs or documents normally. To fix this, you must pay to get the hardware decryption key and be able to use it as before.
In a ransomware attack, data can usually be recovered either from backups or by paying a ransom. The difficulty is that “restoring from backups” simplifies the process and leads many organizations to make false assumptions about their backup and recovery capabilities. Instead of intercepting information or data of a company or individual, attackers take full control of devices connected to the Internet. Users will not be able to use them until the ransom is paid.
Types of ransomware
Ransomware is becoming more sophisticated and its attacks more effective. These threat actors increasingly use automated toolkits to exploit vulnerabilities and penetrate compromised networks more deeply. They are also expanding their targets and launching more and more attacks on critical sectors, disrupting daily life and causing unprecedented damage. The most popular types of attacks include:
- File encryption
The most common type of ransomware is one that encrypts system files. It can block all text documents, images, videos… It can affect both home users and companies and organizations. There are famous examples like WannaCry or CryptoLocker.
- System Blocker
Another common type of ransomware is what is known as a system blocker. In this case, it goes further than just encrypting files, as it locks the system.
In recent years, the number of Leakware-type ransomware has increased significantly. Again, the attackers will extort money from the victim, but the difference, in this case, is that they threaten to release certain information if they don’t pay. This method is also known as doware.
How to avoid ransomware attacks?
The methods used by ransomware attackers do not stand still, and the protection methods should not lag behind. The fight against ransomware requires a deep approach that keeps pace with industry advances. There are several recommendations to help reduce the likelihood of successful ransomware attacks:
- prevent employees from connecting to remote desktop services (such as RDP) from public networks unless necessary;
- install updates for commercial VPN solutions;
- regularly update the software on all used devices;
- focus the security strategy on detecting movements over the network and transferring data to the Internet;
- apply comprehensive protective cybersecurity solutions;
- back up your data regularly.