Ransomware is a type of malware. Though there are several variations, most attacks encrypt a victim’s files. The hacker then demands a ransom, typically payable in cybercurrency, to restore data and files.
Ransomware can find its way onto your device in several ways. The most common is through a phishing attack. For example, a victim may open an email that seems to be from a trusted source. The email includes an attachment that they download, only to find out the attached document installed ransomware onto their computer. Their files are now being held hostage by the attacker who is demanding a ransom payment.
Most forms of ransomware include social engineering tools that trick victims into providing hackers with administrative access. This allows them to get into your files without being detected. More aggressive forms of ransomware can exploit security vulnerabilities and attack devices without acquiring special access. Experts expect ransomware to only become more sophisticated as hackers evolve just as quickly as technology.
As already mentioned, ransomware typically encrypts a victim’s files and holds them hostage until a ransom payment is made. But it’s not always this black and white. There are several things ransomware can do once it takes over a device, depending on its type. Take a look at a few different types of ransomware and what they can accomplish during an attack.
These are just some types of ransomware and hackers are coming up with new methods all the time. That’s why it’s best to remain educated and vigilant about preventing ransomware attacks.
If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, there are certain steps you should take immediately. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid them so far, learn how to start protecting your files and data next.
Hackers flock to ransomware because of its potential for high payouts and minimal consequences. The attacks aren’t slowing down and will likely increase in frequency and sophistication. Global ransomware damage is expected to hit $20 billion by 2021.
If you haven’t been taking steps to prevent ransomware attacks, there’s no better time to start than right now. Start with these helpful security tips.