7 things you need to know about Ransomware
Things you need to know about Ransomware: We are going to talk about probably the evilest type of virus around today. It’s called Ransomware. You might have already heard about this. Basically, what it does is once you get infected with it, it encrypts all your files and then makes you pay to unencrypt them.
If You Don’t Pay, You lose
Any file it can get its hands on it just starts encrypting right away doesn’t tell you it’s all in the background. Once it’s done it gives a pop-up that says “hey we have your files and if you don’t pay us you’re not getting them back ever“. These ransoms are typically hundreds of dollars but can be in the thousands. It almost always requires you to pay in Bitcoin because it’s very hard to trace. It will tell you that if you do pay you’ll get the decryption key to restore the files. The key is stored on the hacker’s computer and if you don’t pay up within 48 hours or so. they’ll destroy the encryption key. and your files will be completely unrecoverable. strangely enough sometimes they’ll even give you a discount if you pay early.
Don’t Try to Decrypt it
One of the most important Things you need to know about Ransomware is, If you think you can just decrypt the files yourself you’re not going to be able to do it. The keys are often 2048-bit which means that to decrypt it with an average desktop it would take quadrillions of years it’s just not going to happen. These types of viruses are becoming more popular and even worse is that makes people actually pay up. So, there’s more incentive for the hackers to keep doing it and doing it more. A Kaspersky study recently said that, in 2015 there were over a hundred 75,000 detected infected computers and it could be even more that were undetected and so that is a lot of people and a lot of money
Don’t Delete them
The worst part about these viruses is you can’t just delete them off the computer. Sure, you can, but then you will lose your files forever. You can’t get the files back even if you remove the virus and professionals will tell you to look don’t pay the ransom but for someone who might have only one copy of their family photos or important documents they might think it’s worth it.
Why Ransomeware Exists?
One of the most important things you need to know about Ransomware is, Ransomware attacks can be massive one virus made as much as 325 million dollars businesses are especially vulnerable to ransomware. The cost of losing corporate data can be devastating. According to IBM 70% of businesses hit with ransomware paid their attackers. On top of that half of those companies paid over $10,000 and, 20% paid more than 40,000.
Oftentimes companies get hit more than once as 85% of companies hit by ransomware. In the last year were hit by three or more attacks one Hospital in London was infected by ransomware 19 times over the course of 12 months. Ransomware has become such a frequent occurrence 40 percent of companies in the UK with over 250 employees are now stockpiling Bitcoin in the event of an attack. Officially, the FBI recommends victims contact authorities and never pay the ransom. Even police stations have had to pay to have their files decrypted. The best option for us even though it was the last and worst option for us was to pay the ransom.
Is it Easy to get Ransomware?
Today, almost anyone can get their hands on ransomware technology. Free packaged shark ransomware can be purchased on the Deep Web for as little as $39. With the advent of the anonymous crypto curve like Bitcoin, hackers are extremely hard to catch. Experts warn that ransomware hackers could turn to other targets. For instance, last year’s cybersecurity experts were able to infect a smart thermostat locking the temperature at 99 degrees. Unless the owner paid up. The most dangerous potential target could be our industrial control systems. Entire power grids could be held ransom to hackers. There’s no immediate solution to the ransomware problem. The only real way hackers will slow down attacks is if people stop paying the ransoms
Things to do to protect yourself
So, what can you do to protect yourself against these types of ransomware? There are actually a few things you can do. First, let’s talk about how to prevent it in the first place in terms of basic security practices.
You need to be really careful when opening email attachments. Even a PDF or Word document can infect your computer. A regular document if it has vulnerabilities. A lot of times also the spammers will send you a mail that has your email spoofed as the from address. So, it’ll look like it’s coming from yourself. As if you sent yourself a document and then to try and get you to open that up.
One of the most important things you need to know about Ransomware is, How can you prepare in case you do get infected anyway. There’s only really one thing you can do. That is to backup all your files in a way that would allow you to recover them afterward. If you just back up to an attached drive that’s mapped to your computer for easy access, that might not be safe. These viruses they’re smart they will go to all mapped drives. Whether it’s a hard drive or a thumb drive and encrypt all those files as well. So, if you’re going to use the local backup I would recommend either not mapping it to a drive. Only plug it in during the backup and then unplugging it afterward.
So, that way it’s completely separate from your computer. You can also use an online backup solution like Backblaze, CrashPlan, Carbonite. All those are pretty good and store the files offsite away from your computer. It’s all online so even if your computer dies and your whole house gets destroyed you can still access the files. So, backing up whatever way you do it is probably the best way to protect against Ransomware.
If you think about it ransomware in a way isn’t any worse than a hard drive failure. You’re going to lose your files, either way. It’s just that hard drive failure is guaranteed to happen over the course of the hard drive’s life. So, you really want to back up in any case so now that you know about ransomware. Hopefully, you’re not too paranoid though if you do take the precautions even if it does happen you’ll be fine.