Ransomware assaults aren’t just anything, and they’re here to stay, as we’ve all learned over the last decade. While ransomware attacks began as non-targeted attacks, they have since evolved into lucrative enterprises that involve strategy, revenue management, and practical hacking knowledge.
Cybercriminals frequently hide for long periods of time, waiting for the opportunity to steal sensitive data. They can sell the stolen access to other cybercriminal organizations that will use it to carry out more harmful acts, such as ransomware deployment.
What was the beginning of ransomware?
Most ransomware attacks employed malvertising as the initial penetration vector a few years ago, and they targeted nearly anyone who submitted this malvertising, a huge firm, or anyone trying to access your emails. The ransomware didn’t make a distinction between who it was after: it went after everyone, and if the victims paid, wonderful; if they didn’t, fine; there were plenty of other fish in the sea.
In the late 1980s, the first ransomware variations were developed, and payment had to be made via mail. Today, ransomware authors demand payment in bitcoins or via credit cards. Virtual currencies made it possible for ransomware to become a profitable business by giving an easy and anonymous method of accepting payments from victims.
Types of online threats
Malware is a computer program that infiltrates computer systems with the intent of obtaining, destroying, copying, or stealing information and performing undesired acts. Malware is classified into several categories.
Viruses are the most prevalent and well-known. These have the ability to remove files, folders, and data in general. Spyware or spy programs are also known, and their objective is to access information such as email messages, credit cards, passwords, and data in general without our permission.
Worms are another type of malware that infiltrates our computer system and replicates itself in order to bring down the network or systems. Trojans are files that are triggered when they are opened, allowing them to access data on our computer or device. Malicious bots are programs designed to execute actions not desired by the user.
Adware is a program designed to invade systems with unwanted advertising. This type of malware can be prevented by installing anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware and updating them periodically.
It is convenient to periodically carry out analysis of the computer. When a computer or device has been contaminated by any of these viruses, it shows some symptoms such as the processor is running slowly, unknown processes, warning messages appearing, internet connection being interrupted frequently, etc.
What are the most typical signs of a malware infection?
Although today’s malware can contain a variety of payloads, the following are some of the most prevalent signs of infection:
- Warnings concerning a computer infection from a source other than antivirus software appear on the screen
- Complete browser hijacking or browser redirection
- EXE and Microsoft Installer (MSI) files will not open
- The inability to alter the wallpaper or any other aspects of the desktop
- All of the program entries in Start>Programs are blank, or drive C: is empty
- The antivirus icon vanishes from the system tray or is unable to be launched
- Unusual icons, the erroneous start menu, or Device Manager entries display on the screen, either inside or outside the browser
What can we do to counter the threat of ransomware?
The new wave of ransomware attacks brings to light an issue that has long been ignored: lateral movement. To be able to exfiltrate all of that data, attackers must first understand where it is on the network, which requires mapping the network and knowing it as well as or better than the people who designed it. This necessitates attackers moving laterally from one machine/server to another, frequently utilizing numerous credentials stolen from many devices across the network.
It’s difficult to solve lateral movement because attackers use a network’s properties against it. They will move from one system to another using administrator credentials and normal administrative tools (such as Microsoft’s own Psexec or Remote Desktop), executing malicious commands and payloads to steal data, then encrypting the network and beginning the extortion operation.
Many organizations are devoting resources to attempting to resolve this problem by over-monitoring various resources with EDR/EPP products that were not designed for that purpose, with mixed results in terms of mitigating or even reducing the danger of ransomware attacks.
Password Manager Authentication
Passwords are a fundamental security mechanism and one of the most important components of internet security and privacy. Unfortunately, for both computer users and security specialists, passwords are a source of constant frustration. Users are concerned about forgetting their passwords and find it difficult to remember several passwords. As a result, people frequently use passwords that are simple to guess.
Even when they choose strong passwords, they rarely change them for years, raising the likelihood that hackers may guess them sooner or later. You and your company will be safeguarded with strong and up-to-date passwords if you use a password management application. Because of malware, using a standard password to safeguard your password manager is getting more unsafe. To avoid malware capturing your master password and accessing your saved passwords, consider utilizing a virtual keyboard or, better yet, a one-time password instead of a master password.
A trial version of an Internet security tool can be a good way to evaluate a security solution and determine if it’s a good fit for your business needs. That said, the worst thing you can do is ignore the password problem and hope it goes away. Adopt an effective password management solution to protect your network.
Finally, insist on prevention as the first and most important line of defense, using caution when visiting websites, installing apps, receiving emails and attachments, downloading files, or using social media. It is feasible to remove malware, but it is much preferable to avoid having to do so.