How Does Ransomware Works?

A simple guide to understanding everything there is to know about one of the worst malware.

What is Ransomware?

How much loss would it cause to your business? And then all of a sudden, you receive a message where you are asked to pay a ransom in order to retrieve the files. This is precisely what ransomware does. It’s a form of malware that will encrypt your data and keep it in hostage until you pay the attackers a ransom.

What makes Ransomware so dangerous is that you can easily be a victim of it. It can be caused by something as trivial as an employee of your company opening an infected email.

There are numerous types of ransomware out there on the internet trying to access your system with one error you make. How they work may differ vastly but they have one goal, which is to keep your files under hostage until you pay the ransom.

So what does it do?

This will make the victim panic. What this tells is that you need to pay a ransom if you want to receive the decrypt key. They don’t give you much time to pay which forces you to make a quick decision. Usually, the money is asked through cryptocurrencies like bitcoins to avoid transactions being traced. Also, these attackers keep their ransom to relatively low values like 300$ to 1500$ to persuade victims to pay the money without taking any other action.

However, things keep changing. In May 2019, USA city Baltimore was attacked by a ransomware called RobbinHood. The attack was so severe that all servers, with the exception of essential services, were taken offline. Hackers demanded 13 bitcoins which is worth more than $75,000 to restore the access. Thus, you would never know whose victim you might become.

Sometimes these ransomware attackers don’t do anything significant but only hide or move the files. Still, people with little technical knowledge will pay the ransom since they don’t understand what’s actually going on. So it’s important that you are aware of the different possibilities.

How common are ransomware attacks?

•According to the FBI, 4,000 ransomware attacks are launched every day.

•In 2016, over 97% of phishing emails contained ransomware

•Ransomware has attacked more than 60% of small businesses

4% of organizations have only stated that they can stop ransomware.

•According to CBROnline, 28% of companies lost files for not paying the ransom.

•The average cost of ransomware for businesses is $133k, even if all of their data is in the cloud.

Remember that, Ransomwares can even freeze SMB data on Google Drive. Your files don’t need to be in your hard drive, because your whole computer can be frozen.

What all this suggests is that your business is likely to be attacked by ransomware regardless of its size.

How can you be a victim of Ransomware?

Sometimes, there are links to download infected attachments like Cryptolocker which contain ransomware which tempts you to do so. Unfortunately, you would not know this is a setup.

Other common mechanisms used are social media messages and drive-by-download. There are others like Wannacry which exploits the operating systems and is one of the most used methods these days.

Generic ransomware usually does not target individuals. They use a ‘shotgun’ approach where they obtain a list of emails or websites and activate ransomware. However, if multiple sites have hit you, it is probably by a different hacker.

Different types of Ransomware

Locky

Cryptolocker

WannaCry

BadRabbit

Satan

RobbinHood

Paying the ransom is not the way to go

This is why ransomware has become a successful business by now. You tend to keep paying attackers which will encourage them more. Also, note that even if you pay the ransom, there is only a 50% chance of getting your data back.

Therefore, Keep the paying option as a last resort and take steps to avoid falling into such traps.

How to defend yourself from Ransomware?

Here are our 5 golden rules to be protected from ransomware:

1. Warn co-workers to not download any suspicious file which is the basic first step that must be taken.

2. Patch your servers regularly which are the loopholes that many ransomware hackers take advantage of.

3. Backup data following the 3–2–1 rule which is to have three copies of data, two types of media and one version which should be stored off-site.

4. Ransomware generally eyes on Windows OS and it is always better to lock them because securing all is a complex process.

5. You must always test the viability of your backup with test automation.

If the backup system is top-notch, you can quickly recover and avoid any downtime or revenue loss. These attacks are seriously dangerous, and if you haven’t had any experience so far, it is always better to build your line of defense.

V2 Cloud has a solution for you

Thus even if you face a ransomware attack, you can get your system back from the previous day and access your data by simply flipping a switch.

This basically means that V2 Cloud doesn’t keep your company information on employee devices.

All the data will be securely saved in the cloud while your employees will have remote access to them. Thus, even though ransomware attacks you, it won’t be able to encrypt your data.

Keep in mind that even if your company is 100% in the cloud, a Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solution like V2 Cloud is the only true protection against ransomwares.

This alone can be a good reason to host your business with us.

Moreover, V2 Cloud has two types of Antivirus plans. With the basic plan, your instances are protected by Windows Defender while the business plan comes with MalwareBytes Pro.

Both the windows defender and MalwareBytes can prevent ransomware attacks. However, in Windows Defender, you will need to turn on the Ransomware protection option manually.

Conclusion

This leads to a whole new economy for cybercrimes which must not be promoted. There are new variants for malware that you must be aware of as it is evolving so rapidly.

Apart from using the V2 Cloud as a solution, there must be trained cybersecurity professionals who should be able to test the defense mechanisms taken by companies to protect against such malicious attacks.

It is also essential to have a cloud disaster recovery plan that enables the backup and recovery of remote machines on a cloud-based platform.

Since technology is more instilled in our lives, we can’t neglect this critical aspect. After all, prevention is better than cure they say!

Originally published at https://v2cloud.com on September 25, 2019.

Offer fully managed Cloud Desktop and allowing employees to securely access business data, apps, and docs from anywhere, on any device. https://www.v2cloud.com/