How to protect computers from ransomware: If so, you're not alone. Last year, the University of Calgary was the victim of a ransomware attack. Infected with malware, their email server was encrypted, and a message urging victims to pay the attackers a fortune to decrypt their files appeared. Fortunately, the university was able to restore all of its files without damaging the university's computers.
Ransomware is a cybercrime that has become a global problem. The criminals who use ransomware don't discriminate between industries and sizes of banks. They target weak spots in IT infrastructure and take advantage of the lack of security in a specific sector. It's essential to take steps to protect your computer. Using an antivirus and anti-malware program can help prevent viruses and other types of cybercrime. Some of these strategies can be found online.
Unlike other cybercrimes, ransomware is not targeted. It can spread from network to network without the permission of a targeted organization. Once installed, it encrypts the files and adds an extension to them. They're then unavailable until the attackers have received the money they want. Often, ransomware will display a ransom amount, demanding payment. If the victim doesn't pay, they'll be left with a locked system that isn't accessible.
When Did Ransomware First Appear?
Until the turn of the century, ransomware was a relatively minor threat. By 2005, internet use in developed countries was over 50%. As dial-up Internet became less popular, broadband was the norm. With such a rapid increase in internet usage, new threats like ransomware were born. Today, millions of people are victims of these attacks. While many of these attacks aren't malicious, many are still a nuisance.
The first ransomware samples were found in Russia between 2005 and 2006. Russian organized crime groups created this malware to attack Russia and its nominally-Russophone neighboring countries. The infection that spawned ransomware was named TROJ_CRYZIP.A, and it was discovered before the term was coined. It infected computers running Windows 98 and NT and encrypted files.
Although the term ransomware didn't originate until 2008, ransomware circulated as early as 1989. In 1989, a Harvard-educated biologist named Joseph Popp mailed 20,000 floppy disks to AIDS conference attendees in Stockholm. The disks contained a code that encrypts the files on the computer and demands money from the victim.
What Causes Ransomware Attacks?
To know what causes ransomware attacks, it's essential to understand what this type of malware does. A ransomware infection is a malicious software infection that encrypts files. This is done by tricking the user into enabling macros. These macros then run a malicious executable file, including the functions necessary to encrypt the files. Once the encryption process is complete, the user is presented with a message instructing them to pay the attacker in Bitcoin to reaccess their files.
An AIDS Trojan horse virus triggered the first ransomware attack. It was developed by Harvard-trained biologist Joseph Popp, who distributed infected floppy disks to researchers battling the AIDS epidemic. The AIDS Trojan horse infection locked the user's files on the computer's hard drive until the user paid ransom to PC Cyborg Corp. to unlock the files. This was when ransomware attacks began.
Once the ransomware has encrypted the files, the user must pay the cybercriminals money or else their files will be permanently encrypted. The money will be further used to fund the criminals' next attack. This type of ransomware has been growing in sophistication, and the number of victims is increasing. The criminals are targeting industries as diverse as law enforcement and healthcare, and the rate of attacks is growing steadily. And the more they can make, the more money they can drive.
How To Identify Ransomware Attacks?
This ferocious attack can encrypt vital files and leave no trace. In this article, we'll provide a few simple tips.
The first step to recognizing a ransomware attack is to monitor your email account. If you receive suspicious emails from unknown senders, you are likely dealing with ransomware. The worst-case scenario is to open one of those emails and be blind-sided by a virus or malware. To avoid becoming an unfortunate victim, make sure you review your email accounts regularly. Many hackers use elevated PowerShell scripts to spread their malicious software.
The second step in identifying a ransomware attack is to monitor the network activity. If you see an unexpected move on a network file share, this is most likely a ransomware infection. It may cause files to be renamed or altered without your knowledge. A network file monitoring solution should provide you with granular information about the network's activity. The list of known ransomware file extensions is constantly growing, so keep an eye out for unusual changes.
Are They Reporting Authorities For A Cyber Attack?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a ransomware attack, you must know who to report it to. The FBI and CISA want victims to notify them, and they need the complete information possible. In addition to writing the incident to law enforcement, you should also file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. This tool can be used to track ransomware incidents and prosecute attackers.
You should report the ransomware attack to the FBI or the local law enforcement agency in your area. Federal law enforcement will ask specific questions about the attack, such as the amount of money paid and the size of the ransom demanded. Often, business owners are reluctant to release details about a ransomware attack for fear of exposing sensitive information to the public. However, providing this information to the FBI can result in liability protection for you and your organization, as well as third parties who could be harmed.
It's important to note that while some companies don't report ransomware attacks, others are required to. This is because of the need to minimize liability, preserve a company's share price, or avoid a government investigation. In some cases, it is mandatory to notify law enforcement agencies and regulators, and in some cases, the law protects the victim's rights. Further, the breach of data privacy laws requires organizations to disclose information as soon as it happens.
Why Are Ransomware Attacks Successful?
The main reason for the success of ransomware attacks is a lack of security. According to Alex Stamos, a former chief security officer at Facebook and current adjunct professor at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, the motivation for a ransomware attack is financial. The attackers can charge a million bucks to steal data and then recoup the money through cryptocurrency. This means that a large portion of ransomware victims haven't received their data.
Ransomware attacks are complicated to stop. The majority of ransomware attacks are user-initiated. Most of these malicious programs use techniques that bypass security measures and trick users into downloading malware. In some cases, malicious software is downloaded from drive-by downloads or phishing scams. These malware infections have been used against national-security companies as well as businesses. Because they are so easy to install, these infections are becoming an increasing threat to organizations worldwide.