Ransomware, one of the most popular current attack vectors, occurs when an attacker uses malware to encrypt data and then asks for money to decrypt it. This attack type doesn’t seem to be slowing down; in fact, it’s expected to gain more popularity this year, according to PhishMe.
What Makes Ransomware a Flourishing Market?
The FBI said it received more than 2,400 complaints about ransomware last year, costing the victims over $25 million dollars. CryptoWall, TeslaCrypt and Locky are the most popular versions of this malware, and to date, the safest way to get your data back is by paying ransoms.
PhishMe projected more new ransomware in the upcoming weeks since it is a promising and easy market for cybercriminals all over the world. That’s because users are still extremely susceptible to phishing attacks, pop-ups and malicious links, pictures and flash banners. Users are often clicking without paying attention or without knowing the link’s source and destination.
Antivirus Is Not the Answer
Many software companies advertise solutions for ransomware, but the success rate is not totally satisfying. These solutions often work by maintaining a huge database of digital signatures of known viruses. When a scanned file matches a known malware, it will be quarantined and deleted.
This approach can protect your computer against well-known malware but won’t help when a virus is too new to be stored in the digital signatures database. Not only that, but some ransomware encrypt their own source code or modify it constantly, making detection much harder for antivirus software.
The Good News
The good news is that most types of ransomware are not self-propagating on a network, meaning that even if you got infected by clicking the wrong link or downloading the wrong file, it will only infect your computer and won’t spread to others connected to the network.
To avoid infection, here are actionable ideas to start with:
- Make sure to back up your data now before it’s too late! Act fast — don’t wait for something to happen.
- Always be aware of threats and think twice before clicking on a suspicious link.
- Make sure your antivirus solution is up to date.
Download the complete Ransomware Response Guide
Security Expert & Client Technical Professional, IBM
As an IBM Security expert and a big contributor to the open source industry, Ayoub likes to share his passion and knowledge about security and new technology...