What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that is used to extort money. Ransomware attacks are when malware accesses the hard drive and encrypts it. This renders the data unreadable and locks the screen. In return, the victim is offered money.
Ransomware is usually distributed via email attachments, links in social media messages, or downloads from compromised websites.
This is becoming more common. According to CyberRisk Alliance, ransomware attacks are now commonplace. A ransomware attack can affect a business every 40 seconds. The CyberRisk Alliance estimates that $11.5 billion in damages could be caused by ransomware attacks as of 2019. Ransomware cases are on the rise: Beazley, an insurance company, reported a 25% increase in ransomware cases in Q1 2020.
Examples for ransomware
WannaCry, a ransomware attack that spread quickly across the globe in May 2017, was a well-known ransomware attack. WannaCry targeted computers with Windows OS and encrypted files to make them unreadable. The ransom demanded bitcoins to unlock the files.
Many thousands of computers were damaged, affecting government offices, railway networks, and businesses around the world. The National Health Service was forced to refuse non-critical emergencies patients and hospitals in the UK were shut down.
Another example is the 2013 CryptoLocker virus, which infected over 250,000 systems. It was estimated that its creators earned more than $3,000,000.
Why should you be protected from ransomware?
Losing all your data can have broad-ranging consequences. Businesses like hospitals–where being unable to access vital information can be life-threatening–and financial institutions that depend on instant access to records and funds are especially vulnerable to harm.
Even small businesses can be targeted by criminals since they lack security and training that could prevent attacks.
Protecting and preventing are crucial because, even if you pay the ransom, it’s not a guarantee that your data will be ever restored to you.
How can you protect yourself against ransomware?
- A reliable multi-layered security solution is recommended
- Use a Virtual Private Network.
- Your staff should be regularly trained to recognize and respond to phishing attacks.
- Back up your data regularly and keep at least one backup off-line in case of ransomware.
- Make sure all of your software, including the operating system, is up-to-date and patched
Ransomware can be distributed through innocent-looking email attachments and web links. It is extremely difficult to detect. Advanced detection and analysis using cloud-based sandboxing is your best defense.
ESET Dynamic Threat Defence (EDTD).
EDTD blocks ransomware threats by analyzing files stored in a cloud sandbox and identifying potential threats. EDTD immediately isolates suspicious emails and files that could contain ransomware when they are received. The file is immediately sent to EDTD, protecting your entire organization. This ensures that malware does not reach your network, users, or endpoints.
EDTD uses machine learning and behavioral analysis to identify the file’s true purpose while keeping it safe. The file’s behavior will determine whether it should be deleted or released. This happens within minutes of its initial detection.