Ransomware is the biggest malware threat – prevent hackers from taking your data hostage


Ransomware is an ongoing scourge, with malicious malware affecting users and large organizations alike. We saw AMD and Intel suffer from data leak in an active Gigabyte ransomware attack, Microsoft faces huge email hackand the developers of Cyberpunk 2077 CD Projekt Red under fire with a nasty security flaw – and that’s only in 2021.

As Searching for checkpoints (CPR) discovered that the wave of ransomware attacks started in the third quarter of 2020, with a 50% increase in average daily attacks compared to the first half of this year. Have these attacks diminished? No chance. In fact, ransomware has skyrocketed to 93% in 2021, and attacks – like Foxconn production disrupted – continue to this day. Yeah.

Intrusive software can be considered the worst form of malware because sometimes all it takes is a simple phishing email to lock down your files, documents, and PC, only to be released if users comply with ransom demands ridiculous. The good news is that there are several ways to escape any disastrous data hostage situation.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is extortion software used by hackers to deny access to files on a victim’s device, encrypting user data and demanding a ransom payment in order to gain access. These attackers often threaten users with leaking the data they’ve locked down, and in some cases even leave a little public slip to let victims know they’re serious.

Think of it as someone who changes the lock on your house and holds the only keys to reopen it. If a ransom is paid, hackers release the decryption key so users can access their files again. These threat actors may not even have big plans to use this data in any way, but once they get paid, they win.

Other forms of ransomware allow attackers to effectively steal data (i.e., steal data), giving them full leeway to leak that data online. Worse still, users may not know what data has been stolen, allowing hackers to manipulate the data they threaten to release and impose fear, all to ensure they get the money. that they ask.

(Image credit: Zephyr_p/Shutterstock)

As an example, during the CD PROJEKT Group data breach, the company claimed that it had “reason to believe” that data illegally stolen as a result of the security breach is not only shared on the Web, but can also be manipulated or falsified. The company could not confirm the contents of the data, leaving the team to guess what was stolen and who it would be sent to.

Ransomware preys on people’s fear of privacy, and despite large companies refusing to give in to demands, it shuts down large-scale operations. In severe cases, the ransomware has prevented hospitals from operatingshowing the severity of what a malicious malware attack can do.

How Ransomware Works

Unfortunately, like most malware, ransomware can easily infect a device if users are not careful. A dubious website or a badly received email containing a suspicious link can lead hackers to deploy malware to lock your files and demand payment.

This is one of the easiest methods of ransomware distribution. Emails containing malicious links can lead victims to seemingly trustworthy website with download links or attachments containing the malware downloader.

As CPR NotesAnother method is to use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) services. This can be trickier for the hacker as they will need a user’s login credentials to run the malware. But it can be done by brute force attacks if the user has a weak password, or by using other methods to find out their credentials. From here. Threat actors can remotely access a computer and download the malware themselves.

(Image credit: Getty Images/Matic Grmek)

This is where the data is encrypted. While hackers may have full access to a device’s contents, the main goal is to get as much money from the attack as possible, leading to a high-value ransom payment. Since many devices have given legitimate owners of a device the ability to encrypt filesit is a simple procedure for attackers.

Once done, the attacker will request payment. This can be done through different methods, whether changing the desktop background with a message from the hacker or a text file found on the device. The ransom is usually paid by cryptocurrency. If paid, the attacker will then send a copy of the encryption key to the user, allowing them to access their files. Of course, it’s never a good idea to give in to demands, but it can put users and organizations in a very difficult position.

How to avoid ransomware

Whether it be adware, spyware or stalkerware, the best way to avoid ransomware is to keep a close eye out for suspicious emails, links, or files sent to you. Of course, this can be tricky on its own, as threat actors will go above and beyond to impersonate otherwise trustworthy companies or websites. Fortunately, the tech industry has deployed a number of countermeasures.

As cybersecurity companies will tell you, keeping your devices up to date when a software update is rolled out and ensuring the correct security patches are downloaded is a good way to keep all kinds of malware (ransomware) at bay. included). Especially when these updates are classified as critical. We know. Windows can have lots of updates in any given week, but they roll out for a reason.

In enterprises, CPR recommends adding strong firewall protections, performing routine audits, and ensuring that users only have access to the data they need to do their job. However, one of the best ways to make sure your device is virus and malware free is to use one of the best antivirus apps around.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Additionally, for Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, there is a ransomware protection feature which allows users to protect their files, folders and data on their device from threats and “unauthorized modification” by hostile applications.

As part of Windows Defender, “Controlled Folder Access” feature is handy to enable to protect your laptop from any kind of malicious hacking. However, Microsoft disabled it by default for a reason.

Controlled Folder Access prevents any other application from accessing or modifying files. While some apps are automatically listed as user-friendly, from using File Explorer to Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop programs, others such as Steam won’t be able to work properly because they won’t be able to access certain files.

That said, users have the option to allow certain PC games and programs to run while ransomware protection is enabled.

Ransomware tools are constantly evolving, so make sure to keep your system up to date and stay away from unknown emails, apps or messages that might be hiding nasty malware that aims to extract money from you.

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