/RANSOMWARE – Know It to Prevent It
ransomware hacking

RANSOMWARE – Know It to Prevent It

Ransomware” is the Buzzword now and is posing the 3rd position in Google Tech Trends. So let’s dive some deep into it to know about it.

What is Ransomware:

Ransomware is a sophisticated piece of malware. It blocks the victim’s access to his/her files until you pay a ransom (a sum of money demanded or paid for the release of a captive) and displays a message requesting payment to unlock it.

What does ransomware do:

Microsoft has given the best explanation for this question:

Explanation of Ransomware by Microsoft
Types of Ransomware:
Types of Ransomware
How it is different from other malwares:
  1. Unbreakable Encryption: You can’t decrypt the files on your own.
  2. Ability to encrypt all kinds of files: Including documents to pictures, videos, audio files etc.
  3. Ability to scramble file names: So you can’t know which data was affected.
  4. Adding a different extension to your files.
  5. Displaying an image or a message: To let you know your data has been encrypted and that you have to pay a specific sum of money to get it back.
  6. Requesting payment in Bitcoins: As cyber security researchers or law enforcement agencies cannot track this crypto-currency.
  7. Ransom payments have a time-limit: Crossing the deadline typically means that the ransom will increase. But it can also mean that the data will be destroyed and lost forever.
  8. Can spread to other PCs connected to a local network.
  9. Frequently features data ex-filtration capabilities: So it can also extract data from the affected computer (usernames, passwords, email addresses, etc.). And it can also send it to a server controlled by cyber criminals.
  10. Sometimes includes geographical targeting.

And above all Their feature list keeps growing every day.

Prevention:
  1. Keep your PC up to date via Windows Update: WannaCry doesn’t even try to attack Windows 10, choosing instead Windows XP and other older Windows operating systems to exploit the vulnerability.
  2. Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments or emails – from people you don’t know or companies you don’t do business with. The most common way you’ll encounter ransomware is by clicking on a bad or questionable link.
  3. Install and use an up-to-date antivirus solution: But don’t rely on them to save you (Experts speaking at the RSA session reminded attendees that antivirus companies were only just getting around to addressing ransomware, and their protection isn’t guaranteed.)
  4. Regularly backup your important files: Ransomware encrypts and locks up the files that are most precious to you—so there’s no reason to leave them vulnerable. Backing them up is a good strategy. Take advantage of the free storage provided by Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, and others, and backup your data frequently. (But beware—your cloud service may back up infected files if you don’t act quickly enough.)
  5. Stay out of the bad corners of the Internet: Though a bad ad on a legitimate site can still inject malware if you’re not careful, but the risks increase if you’re surfing where you shouldn’t.
  6. Do not allow any site to show pop-up in your web browser. Or have a pop-up blocker running in your web browser.
  7. Ensure that Adobe Flash is turned off. Or surf with a browser, like Google Chrome, that turns it off by default.
It’s time to Conclude:

Ransomware was already there for a long time. It started with Joseph Popp’s PC Cyborg in 1989. But it only started to become more common and famous about a decade ago. So it’s not like that only the hackers have grown their skills. Rather as usual simultaneously cyber security specialists also have grown their skills. So don’t panic. Rather follow some standard recommendation. (Like – never to pay the criminals who propagate ransomware because financial success will attract more criminals to the industry). And try to increase your knowledge about this and also in the field of cyber security to cope up with these problems.

References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ransomware
[2] https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/what-is-ransomware-protection/#ransomwaredefinition
[3] http://www.pcworld.com/article/3169524/security/how-to-remove-ransomware-use-this-battle-plan-to-fight-back.html
[4] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/portal/mmpc/shared/ransomware.aspx#what
[5] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2016/jul/28/how-can-i-remove-ransomware-infection
[6] https://in.norton.com/yoursecurityresource/detail.jsp?aid=rise_in_ransomware

Sukriti is a software professional with experience in various technology domains. He is a passionate tech enthusiastic with a deep inclination towards human development and solving annoying common problems of society by breaking the limitations and making infrastructures. He loves to generate ideas and spreading the same for human empowerment.
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