If there is one thing all cybersecurity experts and IT departments now know, it is that one must protect sensitive files and systems.
This is why one must steer clear of ransomware. Below, we’ll look at what most consider the most dangerous form of cyber attack is and how cybercriminals use it a.k.a ransomware.
The most significant hazard now facing civilisation is digital security risks. Yes, you did read that correctly. The largest banks, IT companies, insurance companies, and even the most powerful governments in the world all seem to concur that the risk level associated with cyber-incidents has surpassed that of even natural catastrophes and diseases on a worldwide scale. Additionally, all of those organisations are quite vulnerable to cyber assaults.
As a result, security and data privacy have been more prominently reflected in IT developments than before. This decade has thus seen enormous growth in the protection of digital systems from tampering and misconfiguration, and for very good reasons.
Naturally, threats and security go hand in hand. Threats would not exist without the need for protection and vice versa. Because of this, the topics of cybersecurity and cybercrime are tightly entwined. So let’s examine what cybersecurity is, what constitutes cybercrime, and what the major developments in cybersecurity are for this year. No matter if you are the CEO of an organisation, a one-person firm, or simply a citizen who uses the internet, as most of us do, the following suggestions should be helpful to you.
What is ransomware?
Naturally, threats and protection go hand in hand. Threats would not exist without the need for security and vice versa. Because of this, the topics of cybersecurity and cybercrime are tightly entwined. So let’s examine what cybersecurity is, what constitutes cybercrime, and what the major developments in cybersecurity are for this year. No matter if you are the CEO of an organisation, a one-person firm, or simply a citizen who uses the internet, as most of us do, the following suggestions should be helpful to you.
A terrible little program called ransomware is made out of malicious software code that has been designed or created by professional cybercriminals. Malicious software, also known as malware, includes ransomware as part of a bigger category. A target computer, network, or system will first become infected with ransomware. Second, it will hold hostage the system’s specifically targeted data (or all of the data). After that, the data will be encrypted (locked) using a secret key that only the thieves can access. The victim will receive instructions from the thieves on how to release the captive data. Now, the victim will receive the unlock code (decryption key) after paying a specific ransom.
Even still, using blackmail allows these criminal activities to advance even further. Cybercriminals threaten to reveal private information to the public when files are copied over during the encryption procedure. With even fancy ransomware cybercriminal groups providing their services in exchange for anonymous payments, the ransomware industry is now very professional. The majority of these gangs and their services are present in forums on the dark web. Most ransomware gangs that engage in digital extortion are known to operate out of countries like China and Russia. Not simply for financial gain, but very frequently, attacks have political motivations.
Can you protect yourself from it?
The most well-known ransomware assault of 2017—WannaCry—continues to infect computers and networks today, not just in the UK but all over the world. As a result, victims paid a ransom, but they did not receive their data back. The Bad Rabbit attack also caused computer systems in Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia to crash. Similar to WannaCry, consumers were required to pay hundreds of dollars in Bitcoin to recover their computer data in this attack. To fool victims into installing Adobe Flash Player, Bad Rabbit used a fake installer. Finally, the Petya ransomware rendered businesses in the US and Europe unusable.
It swept significant companies like Mondelez, WPP, and the biggest of them, the well-known shipping firm Maersk, crashing systems and causing downtime. Last but not least, Petya took advantage of the “EternalBlue” weakness in the Microsoft Windows operating system, forcing software developers to rush out a patch while putting those without it at risk.
As we’ve seen above, ransomware is one of those ruthless concepts that can cross the digital divide and have real-world repercussions. Given the intricacy of ransomware and the experts who create it, protecting against it is practically impossible. However, there are several solutions that, at the very least, will slow down cybercriminals or make them think twice before targeting you or your business.
Some of these solutions are;
- Ensuring that all networks, systems, and software are updated with the most recent security patches
- Organisations must also always be prepared with incident response plans
- IAM (Identity and Access Management) program implementation is key
- Keeping all backups of your data offline and away from the internet
- Ensuring email security is top notch to avoid phishing and ransomware
- Not clicking on nefarious links, files, or advertisements while browsing
- Firewall operation with DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) is also key
- Implementing network segmentation, which locks the infection in a specific segment, should stop even sophisticated ransomware from moving laterally
- Security of passwords is crucial in all applications
- Always use a high-quality Virtual Private Network (VPN) network security solution
- Ensuring staff is educated and aware about the current state of ransomware
At the end of the day, you must realise that, sometimes, malicious software infections and cyber attacks are out of your scope of influence. If your data is stored with an organisation, it is on them to protect your data and ensure it is private. However, sometimes these attacks are so powerful that even well-secured organisations find themselves at odds.
On a personal level, you must heed the above advice and secure all of your devices as well as possible. The best choice here is to first get yourself an antivirus or antimalware solution, coupled with a premium VPN. Next, go over all of your account passwords and make sure they are tight and that you do not reuse one of your passwords more than once.