Ransomware is a type of malware that denies access to data files using encryption until a ransom is paid. It comes under the category of cyber extortion. Ransomware does not intend to cause any damage to the computer’s file system instead, it displays a ransom note on the victim’s screen so that the victim can pay a certain amount of money to remove the restrictions and regain access to their computer, usually via a key. The malware creator will either supply a program that can decrypt the files, or will send an unlock code that decrypts the victim’s data. But there is no guarantee that this will happen, even if the requested ransom is paid.
Types of Ransomware
The two major types of ransomware are:
- Locker Ransomware
Types of Ransomware
Crypto ransomware aims to encrypt sensitive files on the victim’s computer. It does not block any basic computer function. This ransomware searches for important files on the local hard drive and external drives of the victim’s system and starts encrypting them. Then, it will present a ransom note to the victim, showing a countdown timer and asking for payment. The attackers generate income by holding the valuable files hostage and demanding a ransom through anonymous methods such as Bitcoin to regain access to these files.
Crypto Ransomware process
Locker ransomware locks the victim out of their device and blocks the basic computer functions. Some parts of the keyboard may be locked and the mouse can be frozen allowing the victim only to respond to the attacker’s demands. In this case, attackers demand ransom to unlock the device. The locked system only allows limited access, to interact with the attacker.
Locker Ransomware process
Other types of ransomware are:
1. Doxware: Doxware is ransomware that not only encrypts the files on the victim’s computer but also steals the data from sensitive files. This ransomware extorts the victim by threatening to publish the stolen data online if the ransom is not paid. It may include private photos, emails, confidential information, etc.
2. Scareware: Scareware aims at convincing users to download useless software, damaging malware or ransomware which can hold users’ data hostage and demand money. It uses social engineering to trick the users to install fake antivirus software.
3. Ransomware as a Service (RaaS): Ransomware as a Service is a business model between ransomware developers and affiliates to use developed ransomware tools to execute attacks. The affiliates earn a portion of each successful ransom payment.
The ways of encountering ransomware are:
- Links or files are delivered through emails, messages, or other networks.
- Downloaded onto the device by trojan downloader or exploit kits.
Examples of Ransomware Strains:
- Bad Rabbit
Prevention from Ransomware Infection:
Ransomware infection can be prevented by
- Not clicking on unsafe links.
- Using security software.
- Avoid the use of unknown USB sticks.
- Not opening suspicious email attachments.
- Downloading only from known sources.
- Keeping the operating system and programs up to date.
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