From a relatively rare strain of computer malware, ransomware has rapidly become the weapon of choice for many hackers and cyber thieves around the world. Profitable, easy to engineer, and often undetected until it’s far too late, ransomware is just the latest in a series of computer viruses designed to exploit vulnerabilities and profit off carelessness.
Fortunately, it isn’t impossible to detect or even beat. With proper coordination, care, and help from a trusted cybersecurity service provider, you can easily detect, isolate, and purge your systems of ransomware before they manage to wreak too much havoc.
What exactly is ransomware?
Ransomware is exactly what it says on the tin—a piece of computer malware designed to lock you out of your system, holding your files for ransom. The primary goal of any ransomware attack is to successfully infiltrate and compromise a laptop that contains high-value files and use their value to leverage a financial exchange.
What makes this type of malware frighteningly effective is how it can easily infiltrate and subdue any infected computer before the user has a chance to react. The way it often works is that it will remain undetected until your next system startup, which means you only have a limited amount of time to detect the malware and do something about it.
A newer form of cybercrime
While ransomware has been around for a while, the reason it’s starting to come into increased use is primarily that the systems now are more interconnected than the ones back then. Ransomware wasn’t really a cost-effective way to profit off cybercrime since it was unlikely that any computers caught in an attack contained anything valuable. However, since the systems now are connected across industries and across continents, ransomware becomes a more attractive option of cybercriminals.
The access to a non-traceable currency like bitcoin has also made this a favored tool of cybercriminals looking to make a quick buck. Combine the ease of infection with the relative unsecured networks around the world, and you’ll see why ransomware can be closer to striking than you might think.
How can I prevent it?
The first thing you can do is understand where ransomware comes from and protect yourself accordingly. The most common methods of transmission often include unsecured emails, redirects to site links, or bringing in an infected device to an unsecured network. Understanding these potential attack vectors and coming up with ways to hinder unsecured access is a good start in preventing ransomware.
However, if you find yourself already infected with ransomware, it’s critical that you not pay. There’s no guarantee that hackers will release your system once the ransom has been paid. If you have been infected, disconnect the computer from a shared network and contact your system administrator immediately.
Ultimately, prevention is the best way to prevent cyber attacks like ransomware from destroying your system and causing huge damage to your business. Partnering with an experienced cybersecurity company or making sure you have the right tools to prevent infection is vital.