How To Stop Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware is a sophisticated cyberattack that security teams worldwide are dealing with. Ransomware can be used to attack all types of organizations, including small teams, large companies, government networks, and state systems.
Although it may seem simple, ransomware can be extremely destructive. Ransomware is a type of malware that is downloaded to a device and encrypts or deletes all data until a ransom payment is made to restore it. According to research, a ransomware attack will strike a new company every 14 seconds in 2020. This ransomware attack has the potential of destroying infrastructure and crippling networks.
WannaCry is one of the most well-known ransomware attacks. WannaCry was a malware attack that infected more than 230,000 computers at 150 companies in a matter of hours. It encrypted every file is found on a computer and demanded $300 in bitcoin payments from users to restore them.
WannaCry mostly affected large organizations. The UK’s National Health Service was one of the most prominent targets. The attack had a lower impact than expected due to its slow stoppage and the fact that it did not target critical infrastructures like railways or nuclear power stations.
The economic damage from the attack is still significant, with millions of dollars in lost revenue. Recently, ransomware attacks on 22 Texas cities have resulted in $2.5 million being demanded by the attackers to unlock encrypted files. This led to a federal investigation. Ransomware is a problem in financial institutions, with 90% having been attacked in the past year.
How does ransomware work? Why is it so popular and how can you prevent it from happening again?
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware starts with malicious software being downloaded onto an Endpoint Device, such as a laptop, desktop, or smartphone. This is often due to user error or ignorance about security risks.
Phishing attacks are a common way to distribute malware. To trick users into opening the email, an attacker may attach a URL or infected document to their email. This will allow them to install malware on their devices.
A trojan horse virus style is another popular way to spread ransomware. This is done by presenting ransomware online as legitimate software and infecting users’ devices with it.
Ransomware is usually very fast. The ransomware will typically take control of any critical processes on your device in a matter of seconds and search for encrypted files. This means that all data inside them will be scrambled. Ransomware is likely to delete files that it cannot encrypt.
Ransomware can then infect all other USB devices or hard drives connected to the infected host computer. After this point, any new files or devices will be encrypted. After that, the virus will start sending signals to other devices on the network to try to infect them all.
The whole process is extremely fast and the device will display a message in a matter of minutes.
This message was displayed to WannaCry ransomware victims. It’s a cyber blackmail’ note that informs users that their files have been locked and that they will be deleted if no payment is made.
As bitcoin is not traceable, payment will be made in bitcoin. Companies are often under pressure to quickly make payments to attackers.
There are many types of ransomware. Ransomware can threaten to reveal encrypted data to the general public. This could be detrimental to businesses that need to protect their customers or business data. Scareware is another threat that floods your computer with popups and demands a ransom payment to fix the problem. It is the same idea: a malicious program infects a computer and demands a ransom to get it removed.
Ransomware is so effective
Ransomware can cause serious damage to businesses and result in financial loss as well as productivity losses. Ransomware can cause significant damage to businesses, resulting in the loss of files or data. This could be hundreds of hours of lost work or customer information that is vital for the smooth running of your company.
In addition to productivity loss, machines won’t be usable. Kaspersky estimates that it takes most organizations around a week to recover data. There is also the cost of replacing infected computers, paying for IT companies to repair the damage, and putting in place protections to prevent it from happening again.
Many businesses feel that they cannot avoid paying the ransom because they don’t have any other choice. Ransomware generates more than $25 million in revenue each year for hackers, which shows how efficient it is to extort money out of organizations.
Ransomware targets Human Weaknesses
Attackers can use phishing to target people and bypass security systems with ransomware. Hackers can use phishing emails and trick people into opening malicious files or attachments. Email is an important part of many businesses’ security systems. Trojan horse viruses can also be used to target human error, causing users to accidentally download malicious files.
This is because most users are not aware of security threats and they don’t know what to do with them. Ransomware spreads faster because of this lack of security awareness.
Inadequacy of technological defenses
Ransomware attacks are on the rise at an alarming rate, as attackers develop more sophisticated malware. Because they are expensive and difficult to use, many businesses don’t have the security measures in place to protect themselves against these attacks. IT departments often find it difficult to convince executives of the need for strong security defenses, especially when it is too late and systems are already compromised.
Software and Hardware Out of Date
Many organizations rely too heavily upon outdated software and hardware, not only are they not strong against attacks but also many of them lack the right security measures. Security vulnerabilities are discovered by attackers over time. Although technology companies frequently push security updates, many organizations can’t verify that users have installed these updates. Many organizations also rely on older computers, which can lead to vulnerabilities.
This is why WannaCry was so successful. Many large organizations, such as the NHS, were affected by it. They use decades-old machines that run on outdated operating systems. Microsoft patched the WannaCry exploit that infected systems two months before the attack. The attack spread quickly because devices weren’t updated.
How can you stop ransomware?
Businesses can prevent ransomware attacks by being proactive about their security and ensuring that they have strong protections in place to protect against ransomware infecting their systems. These are the top protections you can put in place to prevent ransomware attacks.