Ransomware is a malware attack that uses encryption methods to store and hide victim information as a prisoner. The ransomware malware will encrypt the victim's essential data and device with a key only the perpetrator has. To regain access to encrypted files, databases, and applications, victims have to pay the ransom demanded by the perpetrators. Ransomware spreads across the network by targeting databases and file servers to disable systems instantly.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malware that attacks the victim's device by encrypting or scrambling and locking your data. Ransomware attacks are usually via spam email attachments in documents, images, or applications. After you open the attachment, this virus will attack the user's system.
In addition to email, hackers usually plant this virus through web pages. This virus enters your system when a user visits a specific website without realising it.
How Does Ransomware Infect Your PC?
Ransomware can infect a victim's device in several ways;
- The victim is using an infected external storage device.
- Visiting unsafe websites
- Opening emails with malicious links (phishing emails)
Ransomware uses asymmetric cryptographic encryption, which uses a pair of keys to encrypt and decrypt files. This public and private key pair are uniquely generated on the victim's device by the attacker to encrypt and lock the existing data. The attacker will demand a ransom to unlock the data.
When the file is downloaded and opened, the ransomware will start working and take over the victim's computer through administrative access obtained through social engineering.
5 Most Common Types of Ransomware
1. Crypto Ransomware
This ransomware will encrypt the user's device files and folders such as system files, documents, images, videos, etc. Hackers will insert a file into an encrypted folder. The file contains notifications and payment instructions.
2. Screen Locker
This screen locker will lock the user's device screen with a full-screen display.
3. Master Boot Record (MBR)
The master boot record (MBR) is the part of a computer's hard drive that allows the operating system to boot. This type of ransomware will encrypt the computer's MBR to disrupt the boot process when turning on the computer.
4. Encrypting Web Server
This type of ransomware attacks web servers encrypts website files, and causes some files to be corrupted and make the website inaccessible. This attack can successfully attack the webserver because of a security hole in the CMS (Content Management System).
5. Mobile Device Ransomware
This type of ransomware targets mobile devices. However, more happens on the Android operating system. Ransomware manages to attack mobile phones through applications or files downloaded when visiting certain websites.
Ransomware spreads via downloaded fake popular applications, such as anti-virus products or Adobe Flash.
Ransomware Protection Tips
Don't Download/Open Suspicious Files
Always be careful about clicking anything on the internet. If you receive a message containing an attachment from an untrusted source, avoid downloading or opening the file. Ensure that you only get software from official sites or trusted platforms such as Google Play, Microsoft Store, App Store, or other official sources.
Clean Malware with Antivirus
You can download an anti-virus that provides anti-ransomware features, such as ESET, Avast, Kaspersky, etc. Make sure you use genuine and legal applications to avoid similar virus attacks. Although this way you will not get your files back, at least you have prevented this virus from attacking again.
Ransomware Decryption Tools
Encrypted files are likely to be recovered using a decryptor application. The decryptor will decrypt the encryption password so you can unlock it.
1. Trend Micro Ransomware Decryptor