As Cybercrime Ransomware is an Active Threat to Companies Worldwide The Focus should be in Cybersecurity
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Infographic about the risk of Ramsomware and how Experts names 5 steps on how to protect your business from cyberattacks
Ransomware is a critical vertical in cyber crime and companies have to focus on tacling this and have in place strong cyber security systems. The first ransomware, known as PC Cyborg or AIDS, was created in the late 1980s. PC Cyborg would encrypt all files in the C: directory after 90 reboots, and then demand the user renew their license by sending $189 by mail to PC Cyborg Corp. The encryption used was simple enough to reverse, so it posed little threat to those who were computer savvy.
May 12 marks the third anniversary of WannaCry — the world’s biggest ever cyberattack. It affected more than 300,000 endpoints among 200,000 separate victims throughout 150 countries. The WannaCry worm targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments of $300-600 in cryptocurrency. Although the virus was stopped within a few days, its estimated damages range from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.
According to a report from Datto, ransomware remains the most prominent malware threat to small to medium-sized businesses. Hundreds of thousands of systems globally are still vulnerable to the exploits that WannaCry used to spread. Some experts estimate that since the virus’s appearance in 2017, more than 6 mln. variants of the malware have been detected.
“Ransomware usually hits organizations that need access to time-sensitive data, for example, medical institutions, manufacturers, and municipal agencies. Hackers run a virus to breach an institution’s system so that they can take control and lock employees or customers from using it,” explains Oliver Noble, an encryption specialist working for the file encryption tool NordLocker. “For most businesses, this brings production to a standstill. A company or a user then is extorted to pay money to get their access to the data restored. If the organization fails to pay the ransom, the criminals threaten to destroy or expose its data publicly.”
According to the NordLocker expert, there are no foolproof ways to protect yourself or your business from ransomware. However, the market is full of solutions that can minimize the consequences of the attack.
The expert suggests 5 steps on how businesses can avoid or mitigate the risks of cybercrime against them.
1. Make sure your company uses an up-to-date antivirus and a robust firewall on every device or network it owns. The duo makes it harder for viruses to infiltrate your system. A reliable antivirus system also helps prevent your employees from accidentally downloading malware.
2. Regularly update your software and operating system. Updates usually include critical fixes that repair known security flaws and vulnerabilities. “Having the latest software version means you are using the most secure version, too,” says Oliver Noble.
3. Train your staff to recognize phishing scams and other forms of social engineering. Don’t let hackers or scammers bypass your security systems just because an employee opened a phishing email, clicked on a suspicious link, or downloaded an attachment with hidden malware.
4. To reduce the damage of any potential ransomware attacks, perform regular data backups. A periodically updated and secured backup will guarantee access to your data if hackers lock you out of your files. However, mind that cloud services come with their own privacy concerns, which is why the last step is crucial.
5. Start encrypting the information your company handles. According to the expert, file encryption tools such as NordLocker help you reduce the potential damage of ransomware. Even if hackers manage to steal your files, they won’t be able to access their content — so they won’t be able to threaten you with exposing the data. The best way to keep your valuable information safe is to encrypt it and back it up in the cloud so that hackers can’t threaten you with wiping it. Moreover, encryption helps protect confidential data from prying eyes when sharing it with clients or among members of staff.
Types of ransomware
There are three main types of ransomware, ranging in severity from mildly off-putting to Cuban Missile Crisis dangerous. They are as follows:
Scareware, as it turns out, is not that scary. It includes rogue security software and tech support scams. You might receive a pop-up message claiming that malware was discovered and the only way to get rid of it is to pay up. If you do nothing, you’ll likely continue to be bombarded with pop-ups, but your files are essentially safe.
A legitimate cybersecurity software program would not solicit customers in this way. If you don’t already have this company’s software on your computer, then they would not be monitoring you for ransomware infection. If you do have security software, you wouldn’t need to pay to have the infection removed—you’ve already paid for the software to do that very job.
Upgrade to terror alert orange for these guys. When lock-screen ransomware gets on your computer, it means you’re frozen out of your PC entirely. Upon starting up your computer, a full-size window will appear, often accompanied by an official-looking FBI or US Department of Justice seal saying illegal activity has been detected on your computer and you must pay a fine. However, the FBI would not freeze you out of your computer or demand payment for illegal activity. If they suspected you of piracy, child pornography, or other cybercrimes, they would go through the appropriate legal channels.
This is the truly nasty stuff. These are the guys who snatch up your files and encrypt them, demanding payment in order to decrypt and redeliver. The reason why this type of ransomware is so dangerous is because once cybercriminals get ahold of your files, no security software or system restore can return them to you. Unless you pay the ransom—for the most part, they’re gone. And even if you do pay up, there’s no guarantee the cybercriminals will give you those files back.
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Malwarebytes is a leading company in cybersecurity. With a team of more than 600 malware hunters, software engineers, and security industry veterans Malwarebytes has been awarded six patents for our innovative technology. Malwarebytes tech is validated by the results—millions of folks and businesses worldwide rely on the company code to protect their IP and data operations.
NordLocker is a tool that secures files stored on a computer or in the cloud with end-to-end encryption. It was created by the cybersecurity experts behind NordVPN – one of the most advanced VPN service providers in the world. NordLocker is available for Windows and macOS.
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