What is a ransomware attack?
A ransomware attack is a prevalent technique for obtaining a ransom through the Internet. It is a cyber assault that instantly restricts access to a target user’s files, apps, databases, and other important information until the ransom is paid.
Ransomware attacks user files directly and avoids system files. On the one hand, it assures users that they will be alerted when their files are attacked. On the other hand, users would be able to recover their data by paying a ransom. Typically, ransomware is distributed using exploit kits, watering hole attacks, malicious advertisements, or phishing emails.
Why is ransomware so prevalent?
Spreading ransomware to thousands of machines incurs no additional expense. If a tiny percentage of these victims pay ransoms, the criminals will earn a substantial amount of money. Moreover, they are unlikely to create or distribute ransomware.
Cyber assaults often begin and propagate from nations with a lax attitude towards these offenses. Many of these nations may have even earned a profit from it. These thieves are difficult to prosecute since ransoms are sometimes paid through untraceable ways, such as cryptocurrencies.
In short, the propagation of ransomware continues. Cybercriminals will continue to transmit ransomware so long as systems and users remain susceptible. They can simply distribute ransomware to a huge number of targets and collect a substantial amount of ransom.
Ransomware never disappears. Since its discovery in the 1980s, it has continued to develop.
Why is ransomware so difficult to manage?
Unlike other cyberthreats, ransomware identifies its victims. When a user’s device is infected with ransomware, it is often assumed that paying the ransom is the most cost-effective method for recovering the data. In contrast to other assaults in which the attacker just seeks access to data or resources, blackmailers may want both data and money. This is why, in many instances, people are cheated out of money but their data is not returned.
Even more unpleasant is the fact that ransom payments are often used to directly fund the development of the next generation of ransomware. As a result, ransomware assaults are evolving at an alarming rate, as are malware families.
Additionally, ransomware is quite devious in that it may propagate rapidly throughout the Internet. Due to often exposed vulnerabilities on mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the evolution of phishing and social engineering, it has become a prevalent danger to Internet users during the last several years.
Seven methods to avoid ransomware
There are several methods for launching ransomware attacks, but phishing emails are the most popular. The user may inadvertently infect himself with ransomware. Although training may lower the likelihood of ransomware attacks, it cannot totally stop users from becoming victims. Anyone may make errors. Due to the ever-changing nature of ransomware, a single system or method cannot always combat it.
The best ransomware protection begins with regular backups. All data storage on the cloud is another increasingly viable alternative. Therefore, if a computer is attacked with ransomware, the user may restore it to factory settings without losing any data.
Since ransomware attacks may target people, businesses, and research organizations, you should understand how to defend yourself against them.
Increase your knowledge about data security
Continuous security education for Internet users is required. The mechanisms of ransomware propagation, such as social media, social engineering, unfamiliar websites, unknown download sources, spam, and phishing emails, should be recognizable to users. Case studies will make people aware of possible dangers.
Refrain from opening phishing emails
Email phishing is the primary method of ransomware delivery. Users must avoid opening phishing emails and clicking on dangerous links. In addition, you should use appropriate email protection to safeguard your email and critical data.
Utilize many layers of security
Since ransomware often combines with more sophisticated cyber attacks, simple and single-layer security cannot guarantee the safety of user data. Users should defend themselves from sophisticated cyberattacks using multilayered protection, including advanced threat protection, gateways, anti-virus, intrusion prevention, and other network security protection-based methods.
Utilize antivirus and firewall software
Without security, ransomware may be readily introduced to your device. Therefore, you should use anti-virus software and a firewall to safeguard your gadgets. Additionally, you may safeguard your devices using online content filtering, patch management, and other security technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs).
Currently, ransomware may propagate through LAN. Important files, apps, databases, and other information should be isolated on a separate network to avoid infection from the network in order to prevent the spread of ransomware.
Backup and recovery of data
Data backups help mitigate the damage caused by ransomware. However, these data backups should also be secured against infection and harm by malware. Here are the two primary backup methods:
- Public cloud
The simplest protection is cloud-based data backup. A public cloud, such as Google Drive and OneDrive, provides gigabytes of free cloud storage that is sufficient for most people.
- Paid cloud
If you are concerned about the security of the public cloud, you may use cloud hosting solutions such as pCloud and Acronis. These programs are comparable to Google Drive in that they provide quick and reliable file storage as well as a personal support service that allows users to choose where to store files. Unlike free public cloud storage, this cloud storage solution allows you to fix the issue regardless of what occurs.
Monitor network traffic encryption
Increasing numbers of web services are encrypted with SSL/TLS. If ransomware spreads using encrypted online services, it may circumvent standard security precautions. Therefore, security that supports SSL monitoring must be implemented to identify any potential threats in SSL-encrypted interactions.