Ransomware is a popular and one of the most dangerous computer malware out there. It is a virus that attacks all the files in a person’s computer and encrypts them, asking the person to pay a ransom to unlock those files. This malware can be dated back to 1989, where it first came in the form of a Trojan, and the attacker asked for a ransom of $189. However, ransomware made a lot of buzzes recently in 2017, where it attacked more than 200,000 computers across the world. It was one of the biggest ransomware attacks and it was referred to as WannaCry.
However, this virus may not be highly active today; there are still chances that one can get affected by it if they are not careful. It is highly recommended that one should take all the precautionary measures against a ransomware attack. Typically ransomware attackers look for users that they can monitor easily and have sensitive data. Let’s have a look at a couple of methods by which you can get attacked by ransomware and how to avoid them.
Type of Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacker uses military level encryption and looks for targets that do not have a good enough cybersecurity setup. The most common channels used by the attackers are the following:
Sending a spam email is the method that is most common among Ransomware attackers. They send you an email that looks like it is coming from a safe address. They will even copy the format of the organizations they are imitating, and you would not be able to tell the difference. The ransomware gets into the computer in the following steps:
- If you have been singled out by the attackers, you will receive an email in which will have a malicious file attached to it.
- Anyone who is not aware of the malware will end up clicking on the link, and it will be downloaded directly on your PC. If you have any excellent antivirus protection, then it may stop the downloading.
- Once the attachment has been downloaded, it will immediately start locking all the files and folders on your computer. The computers on the shared network might also get compromised.
- After all the files have been corrupted, you will be shown on a text file notification on the screen, where the attacker would have shared information like how much ransom he wants, and how they want it.
Exploit kits are even more dangerous as they do not require the victim to click on an attachment or any other link. Attackers usually pick a victim through a website that they have hacked. They start uploading code on that specific website, which makes the browser of a user vulnerable. Here is how it happens:
- The victim clicks and opens a website which they think are secure.
- The link redirects them to a replica of the website where the user becomes vulnerable.
- After that, the website starts scanning your PC, and it looks for any way it can get into it through any software.
- Once it has entered the laptop, your files will be encrypted, and you will be displayed the ransom message.