During the last three years, a lot of businesses and individuals have become victims of ransomware attacks. In most situations, these attacks encrypt all files on networks, systems, and computers, however, there are a few types that can quickly delete files or block someone from accessing specific ones. When the files are locked, the ransomware demands payment for unlocking them.
If you suspect that you’re a victim of ransomware or if you simply want to learn more about it so that you can protect your computer, our article can help you understand it better. Here is everything you should know about these attacks, including what they are and how often they occur:
Before we can take a look at some other information revolving around these specific cyber attacks, you must learn what it is. Basically, it’s a malicious program that’ll quickly infect your PC or laptop, and in most situations, it’ll simply prevent you from accessing the files on the device until you make a payment to unlock it. How much is the payment? It depends, but in most cases it could be from 150 to 5.000 dollars, however, some businesses have been asked for bitcoin, so that the transaction cannot be tracked.
There is a wide range of variants that occurred in the last couple of years, all of which will try and extort payment from a target by displaying a message on the screen. The people subjected to the attacks are told that unless they choose to pay the ransom, they won’t be capable of ever gaining access to their files and computers again, which is why, unfortunately, a lot of individuals choose to accept the terms the attacker has.
How is My PC Infected?
One of the most common ways for your computer or laptop to become infected is by emails that feature malicious files, but it could also happen when you visit specific websites that’ll prompt a download to happen, often referred to as drive-by downloads. This can happen when you visit a site that has been infected and once the malware is downloaded, it’ll start the installation by itself, thus, infecting your system.
But, there is another variant worth mentioning – crypto-ransomware. It’s a variant that’ll encrypt your files and it can be spread like the method we’ve mentioned above, meaning that you could visit some social media accounts and prompt a download to happen. Also, it seems that an increasing number of attackers exploit unprotected or weak access points to various networks and infrastructures, infecting the tech within an organization in a matter of minutes.
Is it Really That Effective?
Yes, the attackers’ main goal is to make the person panic, which will, of course, cause them to press on the link that allows them to pay the amount required. But, this won’t solve their issues, instead, it’ll only infect their PCs with additional malicious programs. If you’ve been a victim of such an attack, you might receive a message such as “Virus detected, click here to troubleshoot”, and if you see this or something similar, you should hire a company such as Cytelligence that can help you with the breach.
What Can Happen?
You should know that these attacks aren’t only targeted to individuals, but companies as well – which is something that can create a lot of problems for them, such as losing clients and sales. Now, we’ve already mentioned some of the things that might occur if you or your business have been victims of such attacks, but there are other things that you should be aware of, including the list of following problems:
- Permanent or temporary loss of access to computers, laptops, and the files on them,
- A delay in operations,
- Financial difficulties due to lost files,
- Damage to an organization’s reputation.
One thing that you must take away from this article is the fact that paying the amount required from you might not mean that your files will be accessible again. In fact, the attacker might end up asking for more money, or in the worst-case scenario, they might ask for the credit card number and pin. Because of this, it’s always better to hire a cyber security organization that’ll advise you about the steps you should take.
How Can I Protect Myself?
No article on this topic would be complete without mentioning how you can protect your business or your personal PC from such attacks. For starters, you should always back up all of your files and set a recovery strategy in place that’ll protect all the important info that you store on your devices. This can be extremely helpful and beneficial if the attacker doesn’t want to release your files back to you, even if you did opt for paying the amount required.
Also, you should always update your OS mostly because doing so will ensure that the newest and best security patches have been installed. Outdated systems will definitely be easy targets, hence, don’t neglect to do this. An antivirus program is also a must, especially since it can scan all the files, programs, and apps you choose to install, and currently, such programs can also scan the links featured in the emails you receive.
Lastly, another thing that you could try is to restrict other users from installing and running different programs, which basically means that they’ll need your permission to perform certain things on your computer. If you choose to do this, you could end up preventing the malicious program from installing itself on your PC and by doing so, you can also guarantee that it doesn’t spread to the rest of your network.
Ransomware attacks have been increasingly happening all over the world, and the main purpose of such attacks is to lock a system or files on a PC and demand payment for them to be unlocked. One of the things that you could do to prevent becoming a victim is to ensure that you know which websites and programs are safe for use.
Now, you should keep in mind, if you currently suspect that you’re a victim of such an attack, you shouldn’t lose time reading articles such as this one. Instead, start looking for a security company that will help you gain access to your PC again, and more importantly, all the files that are on it.