Ransomware: The Most Evolving Cyber Attack
You must have heard a lot about ransomware attacks in your organizations, in news or in articles. Or maybe a pop-up must have occurred on your computer screen showing a sign of warning and indicating a ransomware infection. Don’t you ever wonder what all this fuss is about?
Well, if you are curious to learn what is ransomware attack and how dangerous it is, you’ve come to the right place! This blog is all about a detailed introduction to ransomware attacks and its evolution in the cyber world.
What is Ransomware Attack?
Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing important files or even their system. Users are later demanded by attackers to pay a certain ransom in order to recover the access.
It is a malware from cryptovirology which threatens to publish the data of victims or block the access. Often this malware encrypts the information into a gibberish so that the data of the victim look exploited.
When a cryptoviral extortion attack is implemented properly, recovering the encrypted data without a decryption key becomes a major problem. This is where attackers demand ransom in exchange for the decryption key.
Ransomware attacks are mainly deployed using Trojan, which disguises as a legitimate file to trick users into downloading and opening it when sent as an email attachment.
The “Wannacry worm” is one of the ransomware attack’s high-profile example. This malicious worm automatically travels between computers without any user interaction.
Ransomware attacks have always been a dangerous threat to individuals and organizations for a long time. It has been evolving ever since a long time and has caused major harm to many users, worldwide.
Evolution of Ransomware Attacks
The earliest mutants of ransomware started developing in the late 1980s. During that time, the payments were made and sent through snail mails. Ransomware attacks in those days didn’t operate the same they do now.
The first ransomware samples were only capable of locking down some specific files. Though malware authors made sure of targeting commonly used files like JPG, PDF, DOC, and ZIP with their malicious code.
Fast-forwarding to a few years now, ransomware has become more impactful and increasingly sophisticated. In fact, today ransomware attackers order for payment to be made through either cryptocurrency or credit card.
Here are some recent occurrences of ransomware attacks across the globe:
1. Healthcare industry has faced the estimated loss of $25 billion in 2019
2. In 2018, the average cost of a ransomware attack on businesses was $133,000
3. Ransomware attacks have made their 95% of profit through cryptocurrency
4. 56% of malware attacks are backed up by ransomware
5. In the first half of 2019, the infamous Fileless attack shot upward 18% as compared to 2018
6. There have been 77% increase in detection of ransomware attacks as compared to the second half of 2018
7. In May 2019, the Baltimore city government had to pay an estimated recovery cost of over $18 million dollars for a ransomware attack
What Could Be Expected From Future Ransomware Attacks?
According to experts, they don’t see an end it, anytime soon. It is expected of ransomware attacks to make further rounds in the coming future. Organizations and individual users must protect their assets and data by using multi-layered security solutions along with strong backups.
Although you can adopt various strategies to prevent ransomware attacks and keep your organization secure. One of the most effective strategies to prevent a ransomware attack is making employees more empowered and less vulnerable.
Humans can be converted into the strongest link in the cyber security chain of an organization if they are well aware of these latest attack vectors. There are various security awareness tools and solutions to train employees in becoming proactive. ThreatCop is classified as among the highly efficient cybersecurity solutions for awareness and risk assessment.
This tool analyzes the behavior of employees and provides them with an Employee Vulnerability Score (EVS). In order to check the vulnerability level of employees, ThreatCop runs a simulation attack of the latest attack vectors. This tool performs an attack campaigns in a four-step cycle, which includes simulation 1.0, awareness, assessment and simulation 2.0 attack.
With the help of these for beneficial training steps, the employees become more proactive towards attacks like ransomware and the chances of cyber risks in the organization are reduced up to 90%! It is better to be safe than sorry.