Ransomware is the most frequently used type of malware among cybercriminal and distributing the file-encrypting computer viruses has never been easier. In 2016 alone, the world witnessed a 500% increase in ransomware incidents, according to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. Cerber is now one of the most successful of the ransomware variants, accounting for 90% of all ransomware infections. Other top ransomware strains of 2016 included CryptoWall, Crylocker, and Locky, whose popularity faded when Cerber’s spiked. Experts attribute Cerber’s success to the fact that it’s very easy for non-technical criminals to get their hands on a customized version of the ransomware. Cerber creators also included military-grade encryption and offline encrypting capabilities among other features.
Russian hacker creates ransomware ‘starter pack’
A Russian hacker who goes by the name Devbitox has been advertising a new ransomware starter park in underground forums on the dark web. Devbitox is charging $175 for the starter pack—dubbed Karmen—which makes it very easy for amateur hackers to develop their own ransomware attacks. The software also gives cybercriminals a centralized web dashboard so they can monitor the effectiveness of their ransomware campaign. It’s easier than ever to launch a ransomware attack. That’s why it’s important to back up your files.
Seven steps to help you avoid a ransomware attack
Ransomware is more prevalent in 2017 than ever before. That’s why PC World published these seven tips on how to avoid becoming a victim:
- Do not try to remove the malware yourself
Unless you are an IT wiz, it is highly recommended that you get a professional to investigate the situation and to make an assessment on the next steps.
- Make regular backups
Constantly backing up critical data is a must. With backup, there’s no need to pay a ransom.
- Regularly update software on your desktop and mobile devices
It’s important to regularly update your software so you get the latest security updates. That will give you a better chance of avoiding a malware infection.
- Block or do not open attachments with file types that have odd extensions.
If you’re not sure what’s safe, have a specialist take a look before opening anything.
- Avoid installing or running unwanted software on your desktop or mobile devices
Avoid installing or running anything you don’t need and if you haven’t been using an application for a long time, it’s a good idea to get rid of it.
- Don’t plug in external devices like a USB-drive from unknown sources
If you haven’t already seen it in movies, USB’s are an extremely easy way to infect your device with a virus. Make sure you keep track of your personal USB’s and if you find one, make sure you know who’s it is before plugging it into your computer.
- Never pay up
If you can possibly avoid it, it is better to just not pay. Paying a cybercriminal for a crime they have committed will make them even more eager to do it again in the future.
For more news and information on the battle against ransomware, visit the FightRansomware.com homepage today.