How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?
Ransomware is not just a type of malicious software hackers use to encrypt data and demand payment for decryption. It poses a serious threat to any company’s or organization’s internal infrastructure.
In this article, we’ll not only take an in-depth look at what they are, but also the circumstances in which ransomware attacks happen, the different types of variants that have been identified, a step-by-step process to preventing attacks, and the benefits of managed network security services like First Class Connection.
What Are Ransomware Attacks?
Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly common and can devastate businesses. These cyberattacks grant hackers access to a system, where they then install malware that encrypts sensitive data. The attacker then demands payment to decrypt the files, making them inaccessible until the ransom is paid. But how exactly do ransomware attacks happen?
How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?
There are several different ways that hackers can gain access to a system and deploy malicious software. Phishing emails are one of the most popular methods, as they rely on social engineering tactics like impersonating legitimate businesses or individuals to trick users into clicking links or downloading malicious code attachments. Unsecured networks, outdated software, and poor password practices can also make systems vulnerable, allowing for easy access by hackers.
Mitigating risks involves a combination of preventative measures and contingency planning. First and foremost, regular backups of critical data should be taken and stored offline. This ensures that even if an attack occurs, data can be restored without paying the ransom. Your team should also implement network security measures to prevent unauthorized access and limit the spread of malware. Employee education and awareness training are also essential to help prevent phishing and social engineering attacks, often used to deliver ransomware.
Covering up these vulnerabilities requires a well-prepared incident response plan with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, to ensure that any ransomware attack can be quickly and effectively eliminated. Hiring a third-party partner, like First Class Connection, can streamline the entire process.
Understanding the different types of ransomware variants can help you better protect yourself against these attacks. It is crucial to keep your software up to date, use anti-virus software, and be cautious when opening email attachments or downloading files from untrusted sources. Let’s identify a few of these variants:
Crypto ransomware is the most common type. This variant encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid. The attacker typically demands payment in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, in exchange for the decryption key.
Crypto ransomware can infect a victim’s infrastructure through various methods, including phishing emails, malvertising, and software vulnerabilities. Once installed, it will search for files and encrypt them using a strong algorithm. Some of the most well-known examples include WannaCry, Locky, and Cryptolocker.
Locker ransomware locks an organization out of its computers, preventing them from accessing its files or even logging in. This type typically presents a message on the victim’s screen that demands payment in exchange for the unlocking of the computer.
Locker ransomware can be delivered through various methods, including email attachments, malicious downloads, or software vulnerabilities. Some of the most well-known examples include FBI Moneypak and CryptoLocker.
Scareware uses tactics to trick the victim into paying a ransom. This variant typically displays a fake message that claims the victim’s computer has been infected with a virus or malware. The message will then demand payment in exchange for removing the supposed infection.
Scareware can be delivered through various methods, including pop-up ads, email attachments, or malicious downloads. Examples of scareware include Antivirus 2009 and Mac Defender.
Doxware threatens to release the victim’s or an organization’s sensitive data, such as personal information or confidential documents, if a ransom is not paid. This variant is often used to target businesses or high-profile individuals, or companies who may have valuable data on their computers.
Doxware can be delivered through various methods, including phishing emails or malicious downloads. One of the most well-known examples is Maze.
Mobile ransomware targets mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. It typically encrypts the victim’s data or locks them out of their device until a ransom is paid. Examples include Simplocker and Android/Filecoder.C.
If you are interested in learning about how ransomware attacks happen, you should also check out this article about workplace security awareness.
How to Prevent a Malware Attack: a Step-By-Step Process
- Install and regularly update antivirus and anti-malware software on your company computers, smartphones, and other devices.
- Use strong and unique passwords for your network accounts, and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
- Enable automatic software updates for your operating system, web browser, and other applications to ensure they have the latest security patches.
- Educate employees and associates on avoiding clicking suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources, especially in emails or social media messages.
- Use a pop-up blocker and avoid installing browser extensions or plugins from untrusted sources.
- Backup your important company files regularly to an external hard drive or cloud storage service to prevent data loss in case of an attack.
- Educate yourself and your employees about the risks of malware and how to avoid them, including phishing scams and social engineering tactics.
- Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for your online accounts whenever possible to add an extra layer of security.
- Monitor your accounts and credit reports regularly for any suspicious activity, and report any fraud or identity theft incidents to the relevant authorities.
- Partner with a managed network service provider like First Class Connection.
First Class Connection: an Industry-Leading Managed Network Security Service Provider
Working with a First Class Connection provides businesses with improved protection against ransomware threats due to its combination of 24/7 monitoring, automated detection and response capabilities, and increased employee awareness of cybersecurity best practices.
If you’re looking for the most reliable way possible to protect your business from ransomware attacks, investing in managed network security services could be just what you need! Contact our team of experts to get started today.