What is Ransomware?

Instances of ransomware cyber attacks are popping up with more frequency in the news on a daily basis. However, you may not be clear on what precisely ransomware entails and the threat it poses to your business. Knowledge is power, and we’re to make sure you have the latest knowledge to stay protected in an ever-changing threat landscape.

An Explanation of Ransomware

The first step of a ransomware attack occurs when cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to either your network or an individual computer on your network. Access typically either happens through a successful phishing attempt or a virus. Once they’ve entered your system, they lock and encrypt all of the critical data on the device, so you can no longer access it. That data can then only be restored with a unique decryption key. The cybercriminal, however, refuses to provide a decryption key unless a ransom is paid.

Much like a real-life ransom scenario, they still may refuse to hand over the decryption key even after receiving payment. If this happens, you could potentially lose access to any of the data that’s been encrypted forever. That’s why many security experts recommend never paying a ransom. Instead, you should ensure that you have a recovery plan in place to foil the attack altogether.

Types of Ransomware

The above section is a description of crypto malware, the most common type of ransomware. Crypto malware is what you’ll most frequently hear about in the news. However, there are a number of other forms of ransomware like:

  1. Lockers: A locker attack completely locks you out of your computer, so you can’t access any of your files or applications.
  2. Doxware: Doxware, also known as leakware, occurs when a cybercriminal threatens to publish stolen information online if you don’t pay a ransom. If you store highly sensitive data on your network, your business is at a higher risk of a doxware attack.
  3. Scareware: Scareware replicates an antivirus or cleaning tool that claims to have found threats on your computer. The only way to solve the issue is to pay money to have the threat removed. To force you to act, a scareware attack may lock your computer or flood your screen with alerts and messages that prevent you from using your computer.
  4. RaaS: Short for Ransomware as a Service, RaaS is malware hosted anonymously by a cybercriminal. The hacker handles everything from distributing ransomware to collecting payments and managing decryption keys on behalf of others.

Staying Protected from Ransomware

Our blog about protecting your business from cyber attacks outlines some foundational practices that can protect your business from the threat of ransomware. However, there’s a more critical step to consider if you want to ensure maximum security against the risk of ransomware. You can stop cybercriminals in their tracks with a redundant on and off-site backup solution. By maximizing the effectiveness of your backup with both on-site drives and cloud-based backups, you can ensure you always have a copy of your critical data from before it was decrypted. That way, you won’t have to worry about paying a ransom or losing any of your critical data.

To learn more about how you can keep your business protected from the threat of a ransomware attack, Contact the experts at ANC today.