If there is a lucrative criminal activity that is happening in the cyberspace today, it has to be ransomware. Many businesses are busy enjoying the benefits of modern tech-unaware that cyber criminals have invaded this space and are very prepared to cause havoc to unsuspecting users. Unless it has happened to you, you may never understand the misery that follows when your data is in the hands of criminals and not being sure if you can ever get it back.
Type of Computer Malware – Ransomware
Business data is paramount, and the smooth running of your business depends on it. This data is also sensitive and should not get into the wrong hands at any time. This is what cyber criminals know, and they are using many tactics to get hold of it.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts or locks your files and asks for ransom for them to be released. They enter into your computer when you click on malicious links in emails or open malicious files that come as email attachments. Once this happens, it encrypts or locks your data silently and displays a message asking for payment.
The ransom demand usually has deadlines that if missed, the ransom is increased or you will never get to see your data again.
This is how threatening it can get, and because many victims cannot afford to lose their data, they pay the ransom.
Ransomware generally belongs to two groups: encrypting and non-encrypting ransomware. Encrypting ransomware works by encrypting files using robust algorithms that are difficult to break. Non- encrypting ransomware is less harmful of the two and works by blocking access to your files such that you only receive unwanted messages when you try to access them. Common types of ransomware include:
The greatest effects of ransomware were realized after the release of CryptoLocker in the year 2013. It is an encryption ransomware that originated from Russia and used 2048-bit encryption. This ransomware was, however, disabled in 2014 having extorted $3 million in ransom.
CryptoWall or CryptoWall virus works in a similar encryption mechanism as CryptoLocker. Since it was introduced in the year 2014, it has appeared in different versions including CryptoDefense, CryptorBit and CryptoWall 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0.
These variants keep coming with new features that make it more sophisticated and dangerous. It usually asks for a ransom of $700 or more which is doubled if you do not meet the deadline given. The virus is spread through email attachments, exploit kits and malicious web pages. CryptoWall virus can be removed from your computer although the only way to get your files back is so far by paying the ransom.
This is ransomware that first appeared in 2014 and spread through spam emails. Unlike other types of ransomware, TorrentLocker also picks emails that are found on your machine and send spam emails to them. It normally asks for $500 ransom payable within 3 days in Bitcoin.
This is a sophisticated type of ransomware which appeared in the year 2016. It is distributed as Ms Office email attachments or an email message that is mistaken for an invoice. Once you open it, it will instruct you to activate macros because the invoice is scrambled. What follows is the encryption of your files and demand for ransom.
The tech and tactics of ransomware are the same, and you should be careful when opening suspicious emails and browsing in unofficial websites because ransomware is becoming sophisticated and increasing day by day. Knowing the different types of ransomware enables you to be more careful when operating on the internet. 🙂