There are several kinds of malware out there, all of which can ruin your information systems. Worms can open new routes of access for hackers, and trojans can sneak their ways onto your computers and steal your information. Yet, there is one kind of malware that can destroy more than your digital networks.
They can take down your whole company, and that’s because it affects more than just your hard drives and processors. Ransomware also affects your finances and your sense of security. Worse, ransomware growth has exploded in recent years.
Ransomware works by locking users out of their own systems and threatening to destroy them. They say that the only way to save your information is to pay a ransom to an unknown hacker. Hackers across the world have started to learn how profitable ransomware can be.
Ransomware exploits people’s fears about technology to score a quick dollar, and hackers are always looking out for easy money. So, they’ve started to use them more, and they’ve gotten stronger as a result.
Ransomware Growth Earned Headlines for a Reason
Ransomware existed since the dawn of malware, ever since hackers realize they could scare people into paying them. Yet, ransomware only earned headlines once it started growing in complexity. When it first began, ransomware was easy to deal with.
They mostly just changed people’s passwords or presented them with a stuck screen when they tried to log in. There weren’t many malicious systems at work in the background, so they were easy to fix. Eventually, hackers realized they needed to smarten up and started improving their ransomware.
As a result, ransomware got stronger, and it began to spread to more complex systems than just home PCs. It also started spreading to the systems that run companies, and once that happened, hackers started demanding more. It’s one thing to lose pictures you took of a vacation, it’s another to lose an entire database of customer information.
Once information like that started to be threatened, the media started paying attention.
It Can Drive Companies to a Grinding Halt
Ransomware doesn’t just threaten companies with deleting their information. Now, most companies back up their information on separate disks. That way, if they lose their information for any reason, they can restore it and keep working from where they left off.
So, ransomware began targeting more than just the information companies stored on their systems. Ransomware began targeting the systems themselves. Most threaten to destroy their systems, but some threaten to exploit their systems instead.
Some can claim that they will use companies’ systems to post fraudulent things online. Other kinds of malware threaten to use their systems to connect to personal systems and leak information about employees online. There’s no end to the ways ransomware can now wreck someone’s life.
Ransomware Has Forced Whole Municipalities to Stop Working
Ransomware has also moved beyond targeting companies, and now can target government systems, too. Just like how tech media started covering ransomware developments when they targeted companies, general news media now covers ransomware. Since it’s targeting government systems, it is putting everyone’s well-being at risk.
People are afraid that ransomware could access personal information of city residents. They also aren’t sure how far ransomware can go. If it can get into municipal systems, what other systems can it get into?
Plus, hackers now have a taste for the power associated with bringing a municipality to its knees. What is there to stop them from going after larger, more powerful systems?
Later, Ransomware Started Merging with Other Malware
Now, most ransomware is a complicated mixture of different kinds of malware. As it locks you out of a system, it may be working to open holes on your network and the computer it’s on. It may install backdoors and inject trojans and other viruses into information systems as people work to remove it.
Trying to remove ransomware can also mean trying to remove a swarm of other kinds of malware, now. Even if you manage to remove all of the new infections it installed, you may not ever feel safe using your computer again. You never know what it may have left behind.
It Can Leave Backdoors on Your System After Removing It
If ransomware manages to install backdoors in your system, then you might as well still be infected even after regaining access to it. Hackers can simply use those backdoors to install a different kind of ransomware, and you will need to work just as hard to get rid of the new version.
Then, hackers can just repeat the process. Sometimes, you need to find ways to plug backdoors without having access to the system, and that can make removing ransomware tough.
Now, Ransomware Demands Bitcoin More Than Gift Cards
It used to be that in order to pay the ransom to hackers, you had to get an Amazon gift card and send them the codes associated with it. Some hackers preferred that you sent them wire transfers of actual cash. Now, times have changed, and hackers want different kinds of money.
They want kinds of money that can’t be traced, and Bitcoin is perfect for that. Most of the time, ransomware will demand that you open a Bitcoin wallet and use your money to buy hundreds or thousands of dollars of Bitcoin. Then, they expect you to send your new Bitcoins to an address, where they’ll go and never be seen again.
Only after doing all these steps will hackers unlock your system, and you won’t even be able to trace them since they use a decentralized kind of currency.
Protecting Your Systems Protects You
Few kinds of cybercrime are as significant as the rate of ransomware growth across the world. Hackers have discovered that by holding information systems hostage, they can hold companies, cities, and potentially even countries hostage, too. The larger their hostage, the more ransom they can demand.
Almost every system is vulnerable to a ransomware attack, as much as any other kind of malware. It’s constantly evolving and finding new vulnerabilities in almost any kind of system. You need to stay ahead of hackers to stay safe and protect your well-being.
To do that, you need professionals who have experience keeping hackers at bay. That’s what we’re here for.
Training your employees is the first step in protecting your business against ransomware!
As you can see, ransomware backup protection is not that difficult once you understand what you’re dealing with. Remember that ransomware can quickly send your business back into the stone age, so you need to do everything you can to prevent that.
Apart from putting the strategies mentioned above into practice, you should also stay educated when it comes to ransomware and ransomware attacks and training your employees is the first step.
About the Center for Information Security Awareness (CFISA) –
The Center for Information Security Awareness was formed in 2007 by a group of leading academics, security experts, and fraud experts to explore ways to increase security awareness among consumers, employees, businesses, and law enforcement.
- Online security awareness training
- On-site security awareness training
- HIPAA compliance courses
- PCI credit card compliance courses
CFISA currently has a diverse blend of customers using their valuable training, including:
- Small, medium and large businesses
- Federal, state and local government agencies
- Colleges and universities
- Financial institutions