- What is ransomware?
- Where does ransomware come from?
- How do you recognize ransomware?
- Why should companies worry about ransomware?
- Protect yourself with anti-ransomware
Ransomware is one of many forms of malware whose operation boils down to blocking access to specific data or the entire computer.
Malware refuses access to data, takes control of part of the computer, and victims are forced to make payments to the attacker.
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With this type of malware, attacked users get a number of instructions on how to pay a fee to get the key to decrypt data. The costs they have to bear usually range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, most often paid in virtual currency, e.g. Bitcoin.
The simplest types of ransomware impose a simple blockade on the operating system or applications, which is relatively easy to combat for experienced users. In the case of more advanced forms of this software using the so-called cryptovirus extortion technique – it may even encrypt the victim’s files with cryptographic methods that prevent reading and demand a ransom in exchange for decryption.
Ransomware is created by fraudsters who have knowledge of computer programming. The main task of ransomware is to gain control over specific software or the entire computer – the main goal is to block access to data.
The ransomware can „hit” the device, e.g. via an email attachment or via a web browser. Such an event occurs, e.g. if you happen to visit a site infected with this type of malware.
One of the most popular ransomware attack methods is to deliver malware along with spam sent to email inboxes. Most often these are attachments that reach the victim in an email, impersonating a file that users trust. After downloading and opening such an attachment, the victim’s computer may be taken over. Attacks are more severe especially if the infected computer has built-in tools or access to social networking sites and networks.
Infecting a device with this type of malware is most often manifested by a denial of access to data. In this way, we lose control over a computer or a specific application, in return we receive a number of notifications that are instructions on how to proceed, i.e. e.g. making payments to the attacker.
One of the common variants of this attack are attempts to impersonate law enforcement agencies, e.g. the police, prosecutor’s office or other public institution. With such attack scenarios, the malware attempts to extort a victim from a fee by saying that it has done something illegal on the network.
Basically, ransomware is a form of malware that doesn’t steal data from your computer, but blocks access to it. The operation of the software can be compared to the activities of criminals who, by robbing a bank, take hostages and expect in return for their release of money. Thus, the entire crime takes place on the victim’s (computer) site and it must be combated here.
Ransomware can lead to the collapse of a company, which many institutions and companies have already seen. The immobilization of computers, especially those working in the network (the infection starts in one position, after which it can block the entire network later) can lead to huge financial losses. In this case, we are not only forced to pay for unblocking access, but we also lose revenue and customers ourselves.
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