The days of classic ransomware viruses are over, with scammers now not only encrypting data but also stealing it to trick victims into paying by threatening to disclose it. Some virus writers have recently gone to the trouble of phoning victims to remind them that a ransom payment is due. Of course, these are not private users, but invariably business users, as it is easy for them to find out their contact details.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers and restricts access to the system until a ransom is paid. There are many different types of ransomware. Some ransomware encrypts data, while others lock your computer’s screen or hold data for ransom. The ransom amount varies depending on the type of malware or what kind of computer system you have. It can be difficult to remove this type of malware without losing information. It is vital to ensure that you know what information is being collected by the website you are using before entering your personal information.
If you don’t pay, your data will be leaked
As ransomware viruses gain more and more leverage to force their victims to pay the ransom and the amounts demanded to increase, the risk to victims becomes greater. Data leaks and extortion are not new techniques, but both are rising.
In August 2020, for example, cloud services provider Blackbaud proudly reported that its IT security team had successfully fended off a ransomware attack. In response, the attacker named the price they would pay in exchange for the deletion of sensitive data that had been successfully obtained before the security team intervened – and Blackbaud paid the price.
Tony Anscombe, Head of Security at ESET, says: Companies are becoming more and more prepared, adopting technologies that thwart attacks and implement permanent backup and recovery processes. Attackers need to create a Plan B rather than a single form of threat, so increasingly extortion is being complemented by threats to disclose the data they have obtained if the victim does not pay the requested amount. Thwarted attacks, or careful backup and recovery processes, are no longer always sufficient to thwart such a cyber attack. This trend will not change in 2022.
Did you know?
According to the FBI, more than 500,000 ransomware attacks occur each day. Ransomware is malicious software that prevents or limits users from accessing their system or files until a ransom is paid.
How to protect yourself?
The best way to protect yourself is to have an updated backup of your system. If you are infected, you can simply restore all your files from the backup. To minimize the risk of being infected in the first place, be sure to update your software regularly and never click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails. It’s also important to use strong passwords for any accounts that offer access to personal information. If necessary, use a password manager, and don’t reuse passwords across multiple services.
In the past few years, ransomware has been a topic of discussion. Ransomware is a type of malware that tries to infect computers and demand a ransom for the owner’s data. Though there has been less ransomware in recent years, it still is a problem with small businesses seeing more attacks.