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Like it or not, the internet is the most important distinguishing factor of the 21st century. In the same way that we look back at the 20th century as the age when film, television, and mass-production, and popular culture came into existence, historians will look back at our generation as the one who birthed the digital revolution.
All of this adds up to mean that cybersecurity is just as important as home security — and one of the biggest threats is ransomware.
You might have heard of it, but what is ransomware? Who is prone to a ransomware attack? If you fall victim to one, is there some kind of ransomware remover software?
If you've found yourself asking these questions, you've come to the right place. This article will tell you what ransomware is and walk you through everything you need to know about its different types.
Ransomware is one of the most common types of malicious software used by cybercriminals. Malicious software is known as malware (Mal — malicious, ware — software). This means that ransomware is a type of malware.
A ransomware software will block your access to your system or encrypt your data. Then, the cybercriminals will demand money in exchange for releasing the data.
In order for ransomware to work, criminals need to have a way in. They'll often make use of some form of a phishing scam to gain access to your information. Ransomware affects both individuals and companies.
Phishing is a commonly used "social engineering" tactic. It usually comes in the form of cybercriminals posing as a serious business, asking you to verify your information. Prevention is the best form of security; make sure you check your sources before you give out any information.
Just like Malware comes in the form of viruses, trojan horses, and ransomware, ransomware comes in many varieties as well. Let's look at some of the most popular varieties, so you can prevent yourself from an attack.
The most important type of ransomware to know about is a locker. Lockers lock you out of your system so that your files are completely out of your control. Usually, the lock screen will display what the ransomware provider wants from you, and display a count-down screen, to get you to panic and act.
One of the most prominent examples of locker ransomware is CryptoLocker. CryptoLocker was developed back in 2013, and hackers used it in a botnet approach to attack many corporations. It's known for its extremely strong algorithms, which are nigh-impossible to decrypt.
Scareware is especially malicious because it makes use of your own anxiety against you. Scareware is ransomware that poses as the solution to a problem, while actually causing you the problem in the first place.
Most scareware operations disguise themselves as anti-virus software programs. They'll lock you out of your applications, and claim that they're infected with tons of malware. They'll provide themselves as the only solution to overcome this problem.
However, once you give the scareware your information, the cybercriminals are free to make off with your money. Scareware can be especially difficult to detect because cybercriminals do research to make sure that their programs mimic the look and feel of legitimate security platforms.
However, other forms of Scareware are much more bizarre.
For example, one of the earliest Scareware programs was called "NightMare". Once NightMare found its way onto your computer, it laid dormant for a certain amount of time, before transforming your screen to an image of a skull with a bullet hole in it, and playing a loud audio file of a scream.
As you can see, it's hard to detect where cybercriminals are coming from sometimes. That's why it's important to have access to a good IT platform.
To add a level of malicious intent to the world of ransomware, look no further than doxware. Doxing is a type of malicious behavior new to the 21st century. It refers to the process of publishing someone's sensitive personal or company information online.
Doxware threatens to do just this. It claims that has access to some of your personal information (whether that's true or not), and says that if you don't pay a certain fee, the information will be published.
A common type of Doxware is police-themed ransomware. Cybercriminals will pose as the police, claiming that they've detected some sort of illegal activity on the person's computer. They'll claim that jail time can only be avoided by paying some sort of fine.
Crypto ransomware encrypts your files so that you cannot access them. While this seems less malicious than a complete lock-out, sometimes it can be even harder to get rid of. You rely on the cybercriminals because they force you to use their decrypting key if you want to get access to your files back.
Jigsaw is a horror-themed ransomware that occupies a unique space in the world of ransomware. Jigsaw is named after the villain of the popular horror franchise "Saw".
Jigsaw encrypts your files and then progressively deletes them until a ransom is paid. It ups the stakes of traditional crypto-ransomware with this threat of deletion — the time limit creates stakes. At the 72 hour mark, all of the remaining files are deleted.
Jigsaw is especially malicious because it doesn't give you much of an option. Whereas other ransomware attacks promise you'll get your devices back, Jigsaw makes no such promises.
As you can see, there are many threats out there to contemporary internet user. With all of the tactics that cybercriminals can use, it's important to put as much thought into cybersecurity as you do into home security.
Make sure you're aware of different types of ransomware, such as lockers, scareware, doxware, crypto-ransomware, and Jigsaw, and you're far more likely to stay safe.
For more information, get in touch with us today.
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Next Level Technologies was founded to provide a better alternative to traditional computer repair and ‘break/fix’ services. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since 2009, the company has been helping it’s clients transform their organizations through smart, efficient, and surprisingly cost-effective IT solutions.