How it works and how to stay safe from Ransomware attacks?

Ransomware definition
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and render the content unusable which means it cannot be opened. viewed, edited, period. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data.
Once the damaged is done users are shown instructions for how to pay a fee to get the decryption key. The costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, payable to cybercriminals in Bitcoin, but still no guarantee that your files can be recovered!

How ransomware work?
The most common way of getting infected with a ransomware attack is by “phishing” spam, attachments that come to the victim in an email, that at first sight looks like a genuine email from a reputed business, in Australia the most popular way of getting infected from our experience in resolving ransomware attacks is an phishing e-mail sent out purportedly from “Australia Post” reminding the user to pick up a parcel awaiting collection, this is a game of probability, if you are a business/individual and if you are awaiting any deliveries of an online purchase you might have made, and you are anxiously waiting delivery then you are an easy victim! If you do not read the file name of the attachment or just go ahead and click the attached file it only takes a couple of minutes to encrypt your whole computer!

Once this happens then you will see a pop up message on the screen with some messages directing you how to pay the Ransom to get all your files back, by this time all your files are under the control of the criminals, demanding money and if you do not have a good back up plan , unfortunately you are under the mercy of the criminals to regain control of your computer and all the data on your computer.

There is also a variation, called leakware or doxware, in which the attacker threatens to publicise sensitive data on the victim’s hard drive unless a ransom is paid. But because finding and extracting such information is a very tricky proposition for attackers, encryption ransomware is by far the most common type.

How to prevent Ransomware
• Have a solid backup plan for your home / office computer, have two backup disks and alternate the back ups , daily weekly or monthly, get professional help if you are unable to setup automatic backup on your computer, any backup disk left connected to the computer can also get encrypted hence two disks will provide redundancies. This won’t stop a malware attack, but it can make the damage caused by one much less significant.
• Keep your operating system patched and up-to-date to ensure you have fewer vulnerabilities to exploit.
• Don’t install software or give it administrative privileges unless you know exactly what it is and what it does.
• Install antivirus software, which detects malicious programs like ransomware as they arrive, and whitelisting software, which prevents unauthorized applications from executing in the first place.

“Prevention is better than cure” should be the mantra when dealing with Viruses, Malwares and Ransomwares.
Ransomware is big business, specific industry that has been targeted in the past have been the health care and financial services sector. Your anti-malware software won’t necessarily protect you. Ransomware is constantly being written and tweaked by its developers, and so its signatures are often not caught by typical anti-virus programs. In fact, as many as 75 percent of companies that fall victim to ransomware were running up-to-date endpoint protection on the infected machines. This reinforces the need of a good data backup strategy.
Geeks Computer Repairs
18/280 New Line Road
Dural 2158 TEL (02) 84150266