Each day, cybersecurity experts find more than 200,000 ransomware viruses. Every minute is filled with at least 140 strains capable of hiding from detection and causing irreparable harm. So what exactly is Ransomware in the final analysis? Simply put, Ransomware is one of the most prevalent and riskiest cyber-attacks, causing devastating effects for businesses and individuals.

In this post, I’ll explain the nature of Ransomware and how it operates in the first place, what you can do to avoid it, and what you need to take if you are attacked. In addition, the most recent data and examples of Ransomware will provide the facts that will help you be aware of how the ransomware attack occurs. Let’s get going.

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is one type that is a type of malware (malicious software) employed by cybercriminals. When Ransomware infects a network or computer, it prevents users from accessing the computer or securing information. Criminals demand ransom from their victims to release the information. 

An attentive eye and security software is recommended to protect yourself from ransomware infections. Malware victims can choose from three alternatives following an incident: paying the ransom, attempting to eliminate the virus, or rebooting the computer. Standard attack methods utilized by extortion trojans include attacks using the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software vulnerability. Ransomware attacks can be targeted at both companies and individuals.

How Does a Ransomware Attack Work?

It is believed that a phishing attack typically triggers the spread of Ransomware. Ransomware attacks gain access to the victim’s device by infecting emails, messages, or malicious websites. It secures data on the device.

  • The Ransomware employs simple Asymmetric encryption techniques; it blocks the user’s data, making them impossible to crack without having the encryption key.
  • It can also map the location to specific file types, including local files and maps and unmapped accessible devices on the network.
  • The virus can also be transmitted via malware through non-trusted applications and a compromised wireless network.
  • Another technique to infiltrate a system that is infected with Ransomware through this technique called Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP access. This protocol can be used to connect to computers using this protocol remotely. This allows an attacker to install malware software onto the system, and the user, is unaware of the changes.
  • Ransomware introduces instructions files to explain the pay-for-decryption procedure and utilizes those instructions to send a ransom notice to the victim.
  • Ransomware typically ends and then dies, leaving just the instructions for payment documents.

Top 7 Types of Ransomware Attacks in 2023

DDoS Ransomware

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) Ransomware attacks are targeted at the network’s services but not your private data. The attack works by flooding your servers with false connections and bringing the servers to a halt. They also send an email containing a ransom message, informing that the attack will cease after payment. But, malicious parties might send a ransom note before the payment is made and take a different route by threatening you if your requirements are fulfilled. A DDoS ransomware threat is highly demanding in terms of resources. Thus, hackers need help to keep it running for a long time. In addition, DDoS ransomware doesn’t pose any threat to your personal information.

Scareware

The Scareware program employs social engineering techniques to fool users into thinking their computer is compromised by malware or faces a problem that needs immediate action. The program displays an alert in the form of a pop-up and often includes the image of legitimate security software asking you to purchase and install the program to solve the problem. The program may do nothing beyond removing the message or include malware created to inflict more injury.

WannaCry

WannaCry is a rogue ransomware threat that spread to more than 150 countries in 2017. It was created to exploit a security flaw in Windows developed through the NSA and then leaked through The Shadow Brokers hacker group. WannaCry was a threat to 230,000 PCs across the globe. The virus affected one-third of the NHS hospitals across the UK, with estimated losses of 92 million pounds. The affected patients were shut out of their facilities, and a ransom payment in Bitcoin was requested. The hack exposed the vulnerability of obsolete systems due to hackers exploiting an operating system security flaw that had a fix in place for a long time before the date incident. The worldwide financial loss from WannaCry was estimated at around US$4 billion.

Bad Rabbit

Bad Rabbit was a ransomware virus discovered in 2017 and became widespread through drive-by-attacks. Websites that were not secure were utilized for the attack. When a ransomware-driven attack occurs, the user is directed to an authentic website and unaware that hackers compromised the site. In most drive-by attacks, the only requirement is to open a website that has been compromised in this manner. However, in this instance, installing an application that contained malware disguised as a threat resulted in the infection. It is referred to as a malware dropper. Bad Rabbit demanded the user to install fake Adobe Flash installation, infecting the system with malware.

CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker ransomware was first discovered in 2007 before spreading via malware-infected email attachments. It searched for vital information on infected computers and then encrypted the data. A total of 500,000 computers had been affected. Security agencies and law enforcement businesses eventually gained control of an entire computer network hijacked by home computers, which were then employed to distribute CryptoLocker. This enabled the authorities and firms to intercept the information transmitted via the internet without criminals being aware. Ultimately, it resulted in an online site where the victims could get a code to access their information. The data could then be released at no cost to the criminals any ransom.

NotPetya

One of the most destructive ransomware threats, NotPetya leveraged tactics from its ancestor, Petya, such as taking over and encrypting the master boot file of Microsoft Windows-based systems. NotPetya used the same vulnerability as WannaCry to quickly distribute payment requests through Bitcoin to reverse the change. Many have described it as a wiper since NotPetya can’t reverse its modifications in the master boot file and causes the targeted system to be unrecoverable.

Exfiltration (Leakware)

Exfiltration, also known as doxware or leakware, occurs when an intruder steals sensitive information and then threatens to put it in the domain of public access. It could have severe implications for the business and the individuals affected. This could be incredibly damaging to the reputation of your business. This could lead to an enormous fine for violating data protection laws. Criminals usually carry out encrypted data theft as a pair. This way, they could intensify the pressure to release the ransom.

How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

If you know what Ransomware is, understand how it can be avoided.

  • Always keep backups of information. Cloud storage is simple. However, an actual blockage on the drive is advised.
  • Ensuring your system is updated with security patches is an excellent suggestion.
  • Other than the system update, having an antivirus program that is reputable in place is essential. Many antivirus programs like Kaspersky and Bitdefender include anti-ransomware functions that periodically test for document security.
  • When surfing the internet, users must be sure to look to see the symbol of a lock in the address bar. This indicates the existence of the HTTPS protocol, which provides additional security.
  • If Ransomware has already infected your system, There is a site, ‘nomoreransom.org.’ The site has encryption tools compatible with the most widespread ransomware programs. It also helps decrypt specific encrypted files when the anti-ransomware list does not support the user.

How to Remove Ransomware?

If you suspect that an attack of Ransomware affected your system and you are unable to access your system, you can restore access with the following steps:

  • Remove the affected device from your system and determine the type of ransomware virus.
  • Install ransomware encryption tools to decrypt files affected by Ransomware to allow you access again.
  • Scan the device for signs of this ransomware infection.
  • Retrieve files from backups of data. When you format and restore the disk to a new clean disk, the Ransomware should disappear from your computer.

Conclusion 

Ransomware threats come in a variety of designs and appear in a variety of forms and sizes. Attack vectors are the most critical element in the type of Ransomware used. To determine the extent and severity of the attack, one needs to be aware of what’s at risk or the type of data that can be wiped out or made public. Whatever the form of Ransomware that is used, backing up the data before the attack and properly utilizing security software will significantly decrease the severity of an attack.

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