Though cyber criminals have been on a roll releasing various ransomware viruses in recent years, surprisingly, there is still a significant number of Internet users who are not aware of this type of threat at all. Survey has revealed that 43% of users do not have any idea what is ransomware and why it is considered as one of the most dangerous viruses. So if you happen to be one of them, read this article to get acquainted with ransomware.
The title itself was derived due to the peculiarity of it. Ransomware is a virus which is capable of infiltrating a computer, accessing personal data and, then, encrypting it with a mathematically complex encryption code. Taking into account latest viruses, especially booming CryptXXX, they often tend to use AES and RSA encryption codes to lock out data. Since mathematically interrelated public and private keys are used for personal data encoding, IT specialists haven’t succeeded in creating decryption keys for all of them.
The main terrifying effect of any ransomware is that it demands money in exchange for the personal information. What is more, the amount of money varies from several hundreds of dollars to several thousand. According to The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report, the damage inflicted by ransomware equaled $1,6 million in 2015. This report include only official numbers, but when you look at the statistics of TeslaCrypt and CryotoWall, the amounts of collected ransoms are significantly higher.
Ransomware tends to spread via spam, specifically, via infected email attachments. Hackers have developed persuasive techniques to convince users into opening such emails. The content of such emails often alarms users to review payment instructions or contact the local tax institution. That is why IT specialists always remind to be cautious and avoid opening similar emails. Additionally, ransomware might attack via exploit kits or trojans.
It was revealed that most of the users tend to keep their highly sensitive information without backing it up. The ransomware viruses were mainly programmed to attack users in the US, Canada, UK, Western European countries. Some versions of this threat even extended their assault to Asian countries: Japan, South Korea, etc. What is surprising is that the respondents of the most affected countries are still unaware of the dangers of this menace. Moreover, 15% Americans and 17% think that unplugging or restarting computer might save them from experiencing the devastating effects of ransomware.
However, the reality is much harsher. Dealing with such virus is not an easy challenge. In order to prevent and remove any kind of ransomware, cyber security should be flawless. In order to improve it, not only having an anti-virus program is vital but an anti-spyware application as well. There is a variety of them, so it is crucial to install a newest version of the security software in order minimize the risk of ransomware attack. Lastly, personal data should be backed up regularly. So if you haven’t done that or haven’t installed proper security software, do it now.