Ransomware is a sort of malware threat that is used by hackers and cybercriminals to infect systems and encrypt computer files until a ransom is paid to the hackers or cybercriminals. Following the initial infection, ransomware will seek to spread to other linked systems, including shared storage drives and other machines that are easily accessible.
What is the mechanism through which ransomware operates?
Ransomware identifies the disks on an infected system and begins encrypting the files contained within each drive as soon as it is identified. When files are encrypted, ransomware typically appends an extension to the end of the file name to indicate that the files have been encrypted. The file extension used is specific to the ransomware type.
Having completed file encryption, the ransomware produces and displays one or more files, each of which contains instructions on how the victim might pay the ransom demanded by the malware. Upon receiving payment of the ransom, the threat actor may provide the victim with a cryptographic key, which the victim can use to unlock the files and make them accessible.
What measures can I take to safeguard my data and networks?
Make a backup
Make frequent backups of your system and other vital files, and check your backups on a regular basis to ensure they are complete. If your computer becomes infected with ransomware, you can restore your system to its prior state by restoring it from a backup copy of your data.
Use managed IT services
By outsourcing your IT needs to a managed IT services provider, you will not need to worry quite so much as they will be on the lookout for threats and vulnerabilities in your system, as well as making backups.
Organizations should take steps to guarantee that their employees are trained on cyber security awareness and best practices. To guarantee that their employees are up to date on the latest cybersecurity risks and threat actor strategies, organizations should hold regular, mandatory cybersecurity awareness training sessions. Using phishing exams that imitate real-world phishing emails, organizations may raise awareness among their employees and improve their overall security.
What can I do to avoid being a victim of ransomware?
Open attachments in email messages with caution
Open email attachments with caution, even if they come from senders you believe you are familiar with. This is especially true if the attachments are zipped files or ZIP files.
Verify the identity of email senders.
If you are unsure whether an email is real or not, you should attempt to verify the legitimacy of the email by contacting the sender directly. Do not click on any of the links contained inside the email. If at all feasible, check the sender’s contact information against a previous (legal) email to ensure that the information you have is correct before contacting them.
Make yourself aware of the situation.
Keep yourself updated about recent cybersecurity dangers and up-to-date on ransomware strategies by following the information on the internet. On the Anti-Phishing Working Group’s website, you may find information about known phishing attempts and how to protect yourself against them. In addition, you may want to sign up for CISA product notifications, which will notify you whenever a new alert is published.