What is Ransomware Attacks and How to Stop Ransomware Attack?
There are many types of cybercrime. Ransomware is one of them. In this article, we are going to discuss-
- What is Ransomware?
- How does it spread?
- What can be done to prevent this?
- Who has is affected so far?
- How to deal with ransomware?
Phishing and hacking are very common cybercrime, and we have discussed this in detail. Check out our Phishing and Hacking series if you're interested.
What is Ransomware?
Simply, ransomware is a type of virus that turns your files into encrypted files. Then, when the victim is left helpless to lose important files, the hacker demands money to decrypt the files. Giving money can't help most of the time. Because ransomware is a virus, it doesn't matter what a program does to encrypt files only. It may be possible that the hacker does just a program to erase all the files on your HDD or any storage device and replace some files so that you can contact him, and he can ask for money to replace the files. But after taking money, you can also lose money. Payment is accepted only with Bitcoin.
How Does Ransomware Spread?
According to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (USCRT) under the Department of Homeland Security, ransomware spreads easily without being patched or encountering outdated software. Experts say WannaCry is spread by Internet worm software that spreads copies of itself by hacking into other computers on the network, not the common case of prompting unsuspecting users to open attachments. The cyberattack is believed to have been carried out with the help of tools stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Some forms of malware can completely lock down a computer, or set off a series of pop-ups that are nearly impossible to turn off, interrupting your work.
What can be done to prevent from Ransomware Attack?
The best way to keep your computer safe is to make regular backups of your files. Malware affects only the files present in the computer. If you made a thorough backup and your machine is infected with ransomware, you can reset your machine to start on a clean slate, reinstall the software, and restore your files from the backup. According to Microsoft's Malware Protection Center, other precautions include regularly updating your anti-virus program; enable pop-up blockers; Updating all software periodically; Make sure Smart Screen (in Internet Explorer) is turned on, which helps identify reported phishing and malware websites; Avoid opening attachments that may seem suspicious.
Who has it affected so far?
It was first reported from Sweden, Britain, and France, but according to US media, Russia and Taiwan are said to be the most affected. More than 75,000 systems have been affected. The major companies that have reported the attacks are FedEx, Telefonica, and the National Health Service (UK).
How to deal with Ransomware?
The best way to prevent ransomware from hitting your computer is to first prepare your machine with the following tips:
- Make an off-site backup.
- Use an up-to-date version of Chrome or Firefox
- Keep Adobe up to date
- Don't open attachments from sources you don't know
- Don’t open PDFs from sources you don’t know
- Don’t open attachments extension (exe, com, lnk, mhf, bat, ps1, scr)
- Don't click links in strange-looking emails
- Don't use pirated software
- Disable macros
- Uninstall flash and java
- Use up-to-date anti-virus software
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