Ransomware is a type of poisonous malware software that locks the access to a computer and encrypts files. Thus, locking the file access system. It is so lethal that it can even lock down the computer system or may make the operating system stop working. In some cases, it was seen that users were not able to use web browsers. Hence, they were not allowed to use the internet. Once the ransomware attack has encrypted files, it will ask the user to pay the ransom in order to let the affected person receive a decryption key. For the ransom payment, they use Bitcoin which is an untraceable virtual currency.
Ransomware’s history originates from Eastern Europe and Russia. It has become so lucrative that it is now the primary source of revenue for many cybercriminals. The primary source of this infection is either a malicious link or a phishing email. As soon as the user opens them, the system gets attacked and from here they come to action and the user comes under a ransomware attack.
According to the statistics of 2017, there is one ransom attack every forty seconds. But these statistics have become aggressive now, as there is one ransom attack, every fourteen seconds, and by 2021, it is expected to have one attack per eleven seconds. Every business loses $133,000 just because of these ransomware targeted attacks. Furthermore, the cumulative global business losses went as high as $75 Billion, per annum.
Now the question arises that, if it is so lethal then why law enforcement agencies couldn’t deal with them? The answer lies in their untraceable identities and the way ransom is paid, such as by Bitcoin, makes them more untraceable.
How to Defeat Ransomware Attack?
75% of the businesses who undergone ransomware attacks had endpoint cybersecurity. This means that care is the only option to avoid ransomware variants. However, there is a need to look for prospective options, which businesses must take in order to defeat the ransomware attack. Following are some of the options which businesses and individual users must exercise to defeat such attacks:
Once the system is under attack or is suspected of being infected, then the first incident response should be to isolate it from other systems. First of all, it should be disconnected from the network as well as from the external storage access. In this way, other connected computers can be saved to perceive this ransomware infection.
Once the infected system has been isolated, treat other computers as being suspicious and apply emergency measures to see if all other systems are safe or not.
Most of the time ransomware reveals their identity when they put forward ransom demand. But don’t fall in this trap as it can be their pseudo-identity. Furthermore, there are many platforms that can help the user to identify the ransomware, such as Crypto Sheriff.
Ransomware identification will enable the affected person to determine the scale of infection. Additionally, it will also enable the person to ascertain the type of ransomware, the files it has encrypted and what are the options of getting this malware removed.
It is always recommended to report a ransomware attack to the competent authority. This will be analogous to doing a favor for all. Reporting such incidents will help anti-cybercrime authorities to better understand and investigate the threat. With more knowledge and by knowing more about the victim’s experience, it is much easier for them to determine who is behind these ransomware attacks.
Counting on the Options
Anyone being attacked by the ransomware, usually have three options. Either, pay the ransom or try to remove the malicious software or wipe out the complete system and restore it.
Out of these three options, it is generally discouraged to pay the ransom. By paying the ransom, we will be encouraging ransomware sources to attack more. Furthermore, in some cases, it was found that despite payment encrypted files were not decrypted.
About the other two options, it is dependent on the extent of malware. If it is of the minor scale, then removing the malware will do the job. But if it is too lethal, then it is up to the user that if he/she thinks that data isn’t too important, then the factory resetting the system is a viable option.
The best way to be sure of having wiped out the ransomware from the system is to reinstall everything from scratch. Hard disk formatting will make sure that no remnant of the ransomware should be left out.
But for the data, the user will be lucky if he/she has been managing the data backups. An effective backup strategy will enable the user to stand the conqueror in combatting the ransomware attack. With complete wiping out of the system, the user will lose everything stored in the hard drive. But in case, regular backups have been managed, complete data will be restored in a couple of minutes or hours, depending on the data volume.
Once you defeat the ransomware, it is important to take measures to avoid the reoccurrence of ransomware attacks. It must be understood that ransomware attacks are constantly being evolved. With each passing day, their attacking methods are getting more and more sophisticated. To combat ransomware attacks, it is always recommended to undergo contagious planning and smart practices.
Go through a brainstorming session to analyze past mistakes. Identify the loopholes and see how these loopholes or mistakes can be rectified.
Always use anti-virus or anti-malicious software to combat ransomware attacks. Furthermore, frequent and comprehensive backups should be made. Because in the worst-case scenario, we will need to reinstall everything, including the operating system, from scratch. Backup is the only way by which we can have data restored.