Are We Doing Enough To Prevent Ransomware Attacks?
Ransomware is a code that restricts completely blocks access to a system of computers. This breach happens similar to a virus but what happens is - the administrators of the computer systems cannot regain access until they pay off the kidnapper of the system.
The information in the computer gets held hostage until the money is paid using in bitcoin, so there is no way of tracking the hacker. This is done most often with computer systems that harbor a lot of classified information because the ransomware attack.
Recent Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks often target large corporations or entities and have the potential to do a lot of damage. Here are some of the most devastating ransomware attacks of the past five years.
The WannaCry attack occurred in 2017 is said to have affected over 150 countries causing billions of dollars’ worth of losses. This is the attack that woke up cybersecurity companies all over the world. This attack takes the form of a file that searches for a specific URL string, and if it does not find it, the attack begins infecting the computer systems. The WannaCry ransomware is extraordinarily powerful because it can move to other machines within the specific network.
This attack is not the typical ransomware because the hackers did not require a ransom. The strike affected 65 countries and large companies like FedEx and Merck. This ransomware gains access to your computer through a Ukrainian tax software using phishing emails. Not Petya moves through the computer systems by pulling admin creds from the memory to connect to the other networks. Once the system is infected - it schedules an encryption task to take place one hour later.
This is one of the most dangerous ransomware there is. These attacks took place in 2016 affecting 90,000 new devices every day. The countries affected were France, USA, Italy, Spain, and Germany. The software required larger companies to pay a ransom of up to $17,000 to regain access. Locky took over the systems through an email that resulted from a payment or receipt. With the email was an attachment and once that attachment was opened and approved by the admin, it would install locky.
How Are Companies Protecting Themselves?
The threat posed by Ransomware is not something to be taken lightly. You need to do everything you can to protect yourself and your valuable information. Hackers continue to get smarter so here are the best ways to keep yourself safe.
Backing Up Data
The simplest way to protect yourself from ransomware attacks is to back up your information as much as possible. If you are always backing up your computer systems, you can restore your documents without losing anything valuable. It's important to get your IT department in the habit of doing this and having an action plan around this kind of issue.
Another obvious way to protect yourself from ransomware attacks is to have a powerful antivirus, firewall, and spyware on your computer systems. Be sure to always keep these programs up to date and take part in necessary patches and software upgrades, so you are always on the cutting edge of protection. These hackers are always looking for ways around, and they are experts at this, so you need still to be prepared for the worst.
Keep an Updated Operating System
Just like you need to keep your antivirus protection updated - it is just as important to keep your operating system updated. Do not continually postpone updates on your computer systems. A lot of the time, these updates are for upgraded protection against spyware due to a breach. These updates exist for a reason, so it’s critical to your data privacy that you keep your system up to date with all the necessary updates.
Spam Filtering and Firewall
I know this can sometimes be a pain, and you end up disabling the spam filter a lot of the time, but it does serve a good purpose. A lot of ransomware attacks are tied to emails or messages that require you to open them to become infected. Once you open these emails, the ransomware takes over your computer system and begins extracting information and locking everything down. If you have a good spam filter and firewall, your computer will keep these types of emails away and warn you before you open something that can compromise your safety.
Are We Doing Enough to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?
There is only so much you can do to prevent a breach. Companies all over the world are on high alert over the issue of ransomware. Internet Service Providers and Operating System companies are continually using intelligence all over the world to learn everything they can about the threat before it happens.
Once knowledge is gained about a potential ransomware, providers issue a patch update with the intention of protecting you from the attack.
I think companies are doing pretty much everything they can to protect us from ransomware attacks. In the future, maybe there will be some time of active communication network where we can receive live updates of threats as soon as they are discovered.
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