Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a user’s files and data, making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid. Ransomware has been on the rise in recent years as cyber attackers become more adept at exploiting security vulnerabilities to launch successful ransomware campaigns. 

There are several types of ransomware attacks, including cryptoviral extortion, locker ransomware, screen locker ransomware, and mobile ransomware. They sound (and are) scary, so what can your business do to be prepared for such an attack?

How Ransomware Attacks Occur

Ransomware attacks typically occur through phishing scams, exploiting vulnerabilities in software, social engineering tactics, and malvertising. Phishing scams involve sending malicious emails or links to steal personal information from unsuspecting users. 

Exploiting vulnerabilities in software is another common tactic attackers use to gain access to a user’s system. Cyber criminals may also resort to social engineering tactics, such as pretending to be IT personnel, to gain access to a user’s system. Malvertising is another way attackers use to spread ransomware, as malicious advertisements can direct users to websites that contain ransomware or other malicious software. 

Cryptoviral extortion is a type of cyber crime that involves criminals using malicious software, also known as ransomware, to demand payment from victims in exchange for unlocking encrypted data or systems. The attackers typically use phishing tactics to infect computers with the ransomware and then threaten to delete important files unless a ransom is paid in cryptocurrency. They may also encrypt a user’s files and demand a ransom payment to unlock them. 

Lockers (or screen lockers) are another type of ransomware attack that locks users out of their systems until a ransom is paid. Mobile ransomware targets mobile devices, which also disallows phone access until the owner pays the requested money. Victims may also be asked to complete an online survey or pay a fee for the decryption key. 

Once the victim pays, the attacker typically provides a decryption tool that unlocks their data. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee the files will be unlocked even after payment has been made, so it is important that victims take preventative measures to protect themselves from these types of attacks.

Prevention and Mitigation Techniques

Organizations can take steps to protect themselves from ransomware attacks through regular software and security updates, employee education and training, regular backups, and implementing security solutions like firewalls and anti-virus software. It is also important to use intrusion detection and prevention systems as well as endpoint detection and response solutions to identify potential threats before they become an issue. 

The most important thing to remember when dealing with a ransomware attack is not to pay the ransom. Paying the ransom only encourages attackers and does not guarantee that they will release the data. It is important to contact the authorities, such as law enforcement or a cyber security firm, if a ransomware attack is suspected. Isolating any affected systems can help prevent further infection and spreading of the malware. Lastly, restoring from backups can help recover any lost data and restore systems to normal operations. 

Ransomware is a serious threat that can have devastating consequences for businesses, governments, and individuals alike. It is essential to be aware of the threat of ransomware and take steps to prevent attacks. Additionally, having a plan in place for responding to and recovering from an attack is crucial for minimizing the damage of a ransomware attack. Need help with preparing for or responding to an attack? Contact TAG Solutions today! We are experts in this area and can help mitigate your risk (or your losses).