Ransomware is one of the deadliest cyber attacks that can happen to any organization or a person who contains important information on their digital assets. What happens exactly is, a hacker tries to get into the device and block access to all the sensitive information on it. This is usually done to get financial benefits from a person. The data is returned to them after the money is received. Now it is easy to say that a person can trace the transactions and get hold of the attacker. But generally, it is not easy to trace back the hacker as there are multiple loops through various platforms so that it is impossible to trace the end bit of your money. Knowing this, let us know different types of ransomware attacks and how do we fall victim to it!
Different types of ransomware attacks
In the crypto-ransomware attack, the attacker encrypts all your sensitive information and holds the key. This key gives you the decrypted form of information and thus, isn’t given to you until a ransom against it is paid. Generally, the ransom is asked to be paid via Bitcoin and then transferred to multiple accounts that are difficult to trace. For encryption, generally, the attacker has his self developed encryption algorithm that can’t be decoded from other resources unless the key is known.
In the locker form of ransomware attack, the victim is locked out from the system’s access and is provided with access after giving out some finance or data in return. As the user is locked out, he doesn’t usually have a choice other than accepting the attacker’s demands. After paying the ransom, he gets access to his data again or the code to unlock the data. This is different from the crypto form of attack because generally, the data is present in plaintext and there is no encryption-decryption process involved.
When an attacker tries to gain access to the data, he encrypts or locks it in the case of crypto and locker attacks respectively. But when he threatens the victim to leak the data onto the internet, that form of attack is called a leakware ransomware. The interesting thing with leakware is that this is a threat not for hiding or locking the sensitive information but to disclose it to the world. Thus, this type of attack is mostly focused on the normal to executive end-users and not on bigger organizations.
How can one fall a victim to ransomware?
Normally, ransomware is a piece of code that gets downloaded or transferred onto your device due to some unknown clicks or unintended actions. Let us see a few ways through which any user can turn into a victim.
Often while surfing you’re redirected to an unknown website through pop-ups and it forcibly tries to download some files. While in some cases, the users are lucky enough to get a notification regarding malicious downloads, others may not get it. There is thus, always a warning sign issued from the safety practitioners that never surf an insecure website. The more you surf on them, the more chances exist of infecting your device with such ransomware.
A massive amount of phishing attacks are going on these days due to the easy availability of a lot of tools that can conduct easy phishing attacks. Adding to it, do not even check what the mail is about if it looks badly crafted or wasn’t expected by you. Importantly, never ever click on any links associated with it. Make sure that your anti-virus and device protection solutions are in place to ensure the safety of the sensitive files in the device.
It is possible to have backdoors on the gaming or other software that you’ve installed. Backdoors are generally used if the user is locked out of this own access. But given that this backdoor has access by any malicious intruder, your device is at risk. Although you can not eliminate the probability of having backdoors, you can always try to minimize the using of such applications.
Ransomware is not only a very dangerous threat but also one of the deadliest attacks. Thus, all you can do is not to fall for any fake emails or messages that are too attractive to seem real. Do not fall for this and stay safe from cyber-attacks!
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Author Bio: This article has been written by Rishika Desai, B.Tech Computer Engineering Student at Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology (VIIT), Pune. She is a good dancer, poet and a writer. Animal love engulfs her heart and content writing comprises her present.
You can follow Rishika on Twitter @ich_rish99, and connect with her on LinkedIn.