Types of Ransomware

If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely heard the term “ransomware” being thrown around in recent headlines. In case you are one of the two people left who haven’t been affected by this destructive and costly form of cyber-attack, here is a brief overview on what ransomware is and how it can impact your business.

Ransomware is software that takes over a computer by encrypting its data and denying access to it until ransom payments are made to unlock the information. The victims are then automatically enrolled in a spam or junk email list, further spreading the ransomware.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise and businesses should have an action plan ready in case they are hit. The following is a breakdown of the types of ransomware.

 

Encryption Ransomware

This type of malware encrypts files on your computer, erases them from any backup you may have and demands payment within a specified timeframe for decryption keys to unlock the files. This type of malware can be trickier to fight because it forces you to pay the ransom in order to regain access to your files.

 

Screenshot Ransomware

This type of malware goes a step further by taking and scrambling your desktop and file icons before demanding payment for their return. It also makes a full screen image of your desktop before displaying the ransom demand.

 

Locker Ransomware

Locker ransomware is similar to encryption ransomware, but it makes you go through several steps to regain access to your files. It may require you use a specific program or decrypt the files manually before you can restart your computer. In order to regain access, you have to enter a code that is displayed on web page or via email before a time limit expires.

 

Ransomware: A Growing Threat

In 2013, the FBI estimated that businesses were only making about $1 billion in ransoms. While that is a low price tag compared to the costs of data loss or downtime, the FBI now estimates that ransom payments have hit $8 billion in 2015. That number is expected to reach up to $12 billion by the end of 2016.

 

How are ransomware attacks affecting businesses?

The most dangerous aspect of ransomware comes from the fact that it can be used against your organization without your knowledge. One of the most common ways to infect a network is through phishing attacks.

In order to prevent being hit with ransomware attacks, businesses need to:

  • Make sure all computers run up-to-date anti-virus software. Any machine that is not updated can become infected with malware without you knowing it.
  • Train employees about phishing emails and how they work.
  • Make sure to regularly backup your files. This will help you regain access even after a ransomware attack.

Businesses should also be prepared to fight against ransomware in the event they are struck by it. The following is an outline of the three most common ways businesses must combat ransomware attacks:

 

Prevention: Cyber Defense for Businesses

The best way to prevent cyber-threats coming into your organization is through preventive measures and business security policy that all employees follow.

  • Always update your antivirus software.
  • Train employees about phishing emails and how they work.
  • Regularly back up your files.