Our society is facing with a growing number of online threats, all of which are designed to cause havoc whenever possible. Ransomware has proven to be the most targeted threat to consumers and enterprises all over the world. Even though this threat is still very common, very few people seem to be aware of what crypto ransomware does exactly. In this article, we will try to explain the very basics of this threat and how people can avoid it.
There are many different types of malware, most of which will either steal your data or encrypt all files hosted on a computer or network. Software stealing data is already bad enough, as there is little people can do to prevent it from happening in the first place. Ransomware, on the other hand, causes a lot more permanent damage if it is not dealt with accordingly.
Crypto ransomware, to be more specific, is capable of encrypting all of the files on a computer. This includes text files, photos, video files, and even the installation directory of the Windows operating system. To regain access to these files, users need a decryption key which is unique to their computer. Obtaining said key is quite problematic, to say the least.
This is why these types of ransomware are called “crypto ransomware”. The only way for users to obtain their decryption key is by making a bitcoin payment to the criminals responsible for infecting their computer in the first place. For a lot of people, obtaining bitcoin can be quite problematic. To add insult to injury, the criminals often include detailed instructions as to how people can obtain bitcoin to make said payment. Criminals also believe bitcoin is anonymous, which it is absolutely not.
Once the victim of the crypto ransomware infection makes the payment, they are at the mercy of the criminals even more. After all, there is no incentive for the criminal to give up the decryption key for that computer. Although most of these keys will be sent out automatically once the payment has been confirmed on the bitcoin network, there is no guarantee to get the key by any means. Paying the bitcoin demand is never the advisable course of action, though, as criminals should not be rewarded for their bad behavior.
It is anything but surprising to find out cybercriminals lean towards distributing crypto ransomware more often than before. To be more specific, anyone in the world is capable of creating and distributing this type of malware, which is what makes it such an incredibly dangerous threat. Ransomware-as-a service is becoming very popular all over the world. For the price of US$400, anyone can start distributing ransomware to victims with little to no knowledge required.
Crypto ransomware is a threat that needs to be taken seriously. Now that anyone in the world can get involved in this malware scheme without technical knowledge or expertise, the number of attacks will only increase. The best way to prevent this software from infecting computers is by not downloading email attachments – usually PDF, zip, and .DOC files – from unknown senders. These files usually contain malicious code that will trigger the crypto ransomware download once opened.
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