Ransomware Virus: The Most Dangerous Threat to Internet Users
A ransomware attack was recorded earlier in November 2020. With the online market and malicious technologies, such attacks have increased at an alarming rate. There are many ways to respond to such attacks.
Ransomware virus is once again in the news. Earlier this month, Capcom, the Japanese game developer behind the “Resident Evil” and “Street Fighter” franchises, has confirmed a ransomware attack. The hackers have stolen almost 350,000 customers’ data and files from its internal network following the attack, as per a recent news by TechCrunch. However, few days later, Capcom denied the chances of any customer data theft.
What is Ransomware?
This type of malware first blocks the users from accessing their system or stored data and then demands ransom to regain access. Ransomware is a rising threat for internet users across the globe.
The threat of ransomware virus is growing at an alarming rate. Cybercriminals have developed this malware so strong that it can spread through an entire network and target the entire data server and paralyze the organization on the blink of an eye.
Reasons behind the Increasing Ransomware Attacks
In recent years, ransomware attacks have been noticed to increase at a rapid rate. This has happened for several reasons. Some of them are as follows:
Easy and on-demand accessibility of malware kits for generating new malware samples
Not encrypting the complete disk of the user system
Taking help of standard interpreters while creating cross-platform ransomware
The booming online market of ransomware offering malware samples for any newbie cybercriminal for good amount of ransom.
Ways to respond to a ransomware attack
In case of a ransomware attack, one must act quickly so that the damage remains minimal. There are many ways the victim can respond in the time of an emergency. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Detach the attacked device:
It is instructed to disconnect the affected device and the internet connection as fast as possible from the all other devices in the organization. This will definitely save the organization from a great catastrophe. The quicker the systems are disconnected, the lesser the danger will be.
- Stop the spread:
Ransomware virus spread fast and hence detecting and detaching first affected system will be not enough. Any system that is behaving suspiciously, must be disconnected from the network of the company as soon as possible. Another life-saver will be shutting down the internet connectivity.
- Evaluate the damages:
Checking for the files which were encrypted most recently with bizarre file extension names, the infected devices can be identified. Odd file names or users having trouble opening files are another ways of detecting a damage. Devices that are not encrypted should be disconnected and switched off to prevent the attack.
An all-inclusive list should be created which comprise of all attacked devices, cloud storage, external hard drive storage, network storage devices, smartphones, and laptops. Then, all of them should be restricted as much as possible. This will help in halting any continuing encryption processes and keep additional shares safe.
- Trace the Patient Zero:
Identifying the source at the first instance will be the most helpful in tracking the infection. It can be done by checking for any signals sent by the installed antivirus/antimalware or any type of active monitoring platform.
Malicious email links and attachments are the most frequent ways most ransomware enters the certain network. That is why, asking the employees about receiving such suspicious emails may prove useful.
In many times, the owner of the company also becomes the first victim. Therefore, taking a look at his own files and properties will also prove useful.
- Report the ransomware to authorities:
The organization must contact and report about the attack to the law enforcement. The reasons are manifold.
First, ransomware is a cybercrime. Proper authorities must be informed so that they can take proper action against such criminals.
Second, the international law enforcement will be of help to recover the stolen or encrypted data and bring the criminals to justice.
- Explore your decryption options:
There are free decryption keys developed by No More Ransom. You still get a chance to recover your data by using this tool. If you find a decryption key resembling to the ransomware variant and all the traces of the virus has been erased, you’ll be able to unlock your files. However, this is a quite time-consuming process.
Awareness and knowledge will be the best defense against threats like ransomware. Whether individual internet user or business networks, everyone should be aware of the software updates and automated data backups. Training should be provided by the organizations to their employees on the divulging signs of ransomware distribution strategies, such as drive-by downloads, spoofed websites and most importantly phishing attacks.
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