The word Ransomware, Cryptolocker and WannaCry may sound funny but are actually digital villains present in our era.
Trojans and Computer viruses are malicious programs also known as malware that have the capacity to damage computing devices such as smartphones, laptops, and workstations in various ways. They are known for duplicating themselves and altering other programs in a computer. These Trojans can be downloaded via the internet through email attachments or transmitted through mobile storage devices such as flash drives.
The computer virus known as ransomware recently sparked the virus market. As the name suggests, Ransomware is a malware which requests a ransom to be paid for it to be eliminated from the system. The Ransomware usually expands as a Trojan entering the system through an unsecured network service or a downloaded file.
Depending on how malicious it is, Ransomware can act a bit differently. The typical and usual form is by popping up as a fake antivirus tool implying your computer is corrupted and that you need to get rid of the malicious files by paying a sum.
It can also appear imitating the official windows update interface saying you need to shell out some money for an update of your Windows system, these pop-ups and alerts will spam and might even restrict your system from running certain programs.It can also threaten to publish your details until a ransom is paid.
Another type of ransomware won’t allow you to start up your PC properly. A full-sized window will emerge saying that you need to pay to continue, quite often because of legal matters. This image will pop up with logotypes from FBI and probably CIA telling you that you have broken the law with and a fine needs to be paid.
Cryptolocker is possibly the scariest part of ransomware today. This malware will lock and encrypt your files unless you pay. According to research by 2014, the Cryptolocker successfully extorted a total of $3million from victims of the Trojan.
The Cryptolocker is a nasty fellow that commands a payment for each infected file, and it would not be possible to unlock all files with just one key because every file has its individual key. This makes the Cryptolocker extremely hard to remove, but it is possible. There is also a huge risk of losing files especially those without backups; however, it can be restored with top class data recovery.
In 2014, victims of cryptolocker were able to recover their encrypted files without paying a ransom thanks to security experts.
Security firms have created a portal which victims of the Trojan can find out the key to unlock their encrypted files. They can simply submit an encrypted file to help verify which key is needed to unlock it.
WannaCry is the latest Ransomware virus spreading with its unique ability to spread itself without clicking any links or downloading any file. This virus allows a remote hacker to hijack computer devices running on unpatched Microsoft Windows operating system and once it corrupts it, it also looks for unpatched computer systems connected to the same local network as well as random hosts on the internet to duplicate itself quickly.
Presently this cyber-attack has brought down many organizations. Once a system has been corrupted, a pop-up window emerges with details on how to pay a ransom amount typically from $300 with a 3day deadline notice before it increases to $600 and another deadline of when the data will be lost forever.
The payment is only to be paid in bitcoins
How to prevent ransomware
· Install and use an updated antivirus
· Make sure the software on your devices are up-to-date
· Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments from companies you do not have any business transaction with or people you do not know
· Ensure you have the internet explorer smart screen turned on which helps to identify and report malware websites.
· Always have a pop-up blocker running in your web browser
· Ensure to regularly back-up your important files to safeguard them.
· Enable firewall and Block SMB ports
· Be knowledgeable