Ransomware Roundup: Five ransomware lessons everyone should know

lessonsThe ransomware epidemic continues to grow—new threat to your business and personal information are emerging all the time. To keep you informed and to help you avoid becoming a victim, Geektime is sharing five key takeaways about ransomware:

  1. Ransomware is probably older than you think
    Ransomware today has significantly evolved since its original appearance in 1989. Sent out through snail mail using floppy disks, it was inevitable that the Trojan wouldn’t be a success due to the limited use of technology. The first wave of modern ransomware started in 2005 with Trojan.Gpcoder. It wasn’t until 2012-2013 that a new ransomware outbreak occurred, instructing victims to pay a ransom in Bitcoin.
  2. Avoiding ransomware can be easy
    Avoiding ransomware is easy if people are extremely cautious when it comes to clicking links inside of emails and opening email attachments. A majority of crypto-ransomware is spread through emails containing malicious .zip, JavaScript or Microsoft file attachments. Take a look at these additional tips on avoiding ransomware infections.
  3. A recovery without backup may be possible–but not always
    A high-quality backup system is without a doubt the best defense against ransomware. However, in some cases, it may be possible to find a decryptor for the ransomware family you’ve been attacked with. Experts point out, however, that there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to decrypt the files yourself.
  4. To pay or not to pay?
    The biggest dilemma faced when infected with ransomware is deciding whether to pay the ransom or not. By paying you encourage cybercriminals to continue extorting individuals and businesses. Not to mention there’s no guarantee that you will get your data back. Additionally, by paying you might become a target once again in the future.
  5. The rise in ransomware attacks will continue
    With ransomware infections steadily increasing and new variants constantly being discovered, 2017 is shaping up to be a year of notable attacks. Predictions for the future include ransomware that attacks critical infrastructure like industrial controls and the Internet of Things (IOT)-connected devices. You can also expect to see ransomware designed to publicly shame companies and an increase in mobile ransomware attacks.

Local government agency uses backup to defeat ransomware
The Mountain Home Water Department in Arkansas used its backup system to recover from a ransomware attack earlier this week and work was back to normal in practically no time. The virus was believed to have encrypted 90,000 files on a water department server in about a minute and a half, but the city refused to pay the ransom. Instead, they wiped the machine and re-installed their files from a backup created the night before–all in line with Carbonite’s Mantra on ransomware attacks. “There was no data taken; that’s not what ransomware does,” said Water Department Director, Alma Clark. The Water Department performs a partial backup every night and a full backup on Sundays–an exemplary system for others to follow.

Cybercriminals are now stealing code from each other
The Petya ransomware family – an incredibly vicious virus locks entire systems down, not just the files, by encrypting the hard drive. Petya gained major success by spreading via a ransomware-as-as-service scheme. A newly discovered ransomware family called PetrWrap was designed to attack large organizations using several of Petya’s functionalities. But the cybercriminals who created PetrWrap aren’t paying the creators of Petya. The main difference between the two viruses is that PetrWrap uses its own encryption keys to lock victims’ files. There are currently no decryption keys available for PetrWrap.

For more news and information on the battle against ransomware, visit the FightRansomware.com homepage today.

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