Where ransomware currently stands in the world of technology.
Ransomware has been running rampant throughout 2016, leaving victims stuck paying the cybercriminals’ demands or losing all their data. It has even gotten to the point that the FBI is warning individuals, businesses, police departments, government agencies, schools and hospitals of the increase in ransomware attacks. We will explain what ransomware is, how it has evolved, and how to protect yourself from these types of attacks. Find out about ransomware and where it stands in the world of technology.
Early Ransomware Attacks
Early ransomware attacks simply locked a person’s computer with an error message that stated: “Your Computer Is Infected” and provided a phone number for you to call. Calling the number directed you to a cybercriminal who would use social engineering, intimidation and threats to convince you into paying a fine. At the time, this wasn’t a practical approach since it required an individual to be available to answer the calls. Later versions utilized online payment features that removed the need for the cybercriminal to pick up the phone.
CryptoLocker: Evil Evolved
CryptoLocker was written by someone with a strict plan and an agenda to extort without compromise. When a computer was served with a CryptoLocker, it didn’t just send a block and a contact number. It encrypted files, photos and documents from the computer (without their knowledge) and made them inaccessible to the computer user. Word quickly spread as to the devastation CryptoLocker caused, which inspired copycat ransomware versions such as CryptoDefense and Cryptowall.
Ransomware & The Future
Ransonware encryption has evolved, and today, it can spread to an entire network of devices (instead of targeting one individual). This means that if one person clicks on a malicious link through an email, their entire network can be affected. Ransomware’s longevity is due to organizations not keeping backups and the willingness of users to pay ransoms for their own information. A few solutions, however, can render a malicious attack completely useless.
The most important factor to remember about ransomware and cybercriminals:
- A backup system can restore a system to what it was before the infection took place. Therefore, the Ransomware can be removed without making a payment to the cybercriminals. When cybercriminals can’t receive the ransom in question, their business model inevitably collapses.
So when you’re trying to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your computer, it’s important to:
- Install layered security on all fronts (emails, etc.).
- Educate your staff about phishing campaigns.
- Keep your systems and software updated.
- Back up your information.
In consideration of this information, it’s important to protect yourself from ransomware. Thankfully, QualityIP is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks and news. Contact us at (330) 931-4141 or send us an email at [email protected] for more information.