Ransomware Protection: How To Test It

I have been talking lately about Ransomware a lot because it has become a new risk and trend in the cybersecurity world. A survey states that 2 out of 3 organizations in 2021 have already been hit by Ransomware. It is no joke, as Ransomware attack potentialities are increasing by 29% year-over-year. Most organizations are still working and struggling to prevent these attacks in the first place. These attacks have drastically hit financial institutions, supply chain companies, managed IT services providers, and much more. To avert these attacks, you must possess robust Ransomware protection for the company.

In this detailed guide, I will discuss Ransomware protection, how one can test it, and whether you can detect this deadly malware via antivirus. So, let’s get started.

What Is Ransomware Protection?

Ransomware takes companies’ digital hostage by encrypting their computers. It locks the data of the organization network as soon as the files enter the systems. The chances of infection increase when the device first detected for Ransomware isn’t quarantined or unplugged from the whole LAN or WAN network. To stop these security vulnerabilities, protection against Ransomware is a must. I recommend running a vulnerability scan by Kaspersky security software to identify the vulnerable endpoint devices. 

So, if you are looking for an answer, what is Ransomware protection? Then, the following points will help you with Ransomware protection.

  • Never Open Suspicious Emails: Phishing emails are the number one factor that leads to a Ransomware attack. If you feel the email is not from trusted sources, verify it quickly with your cybersecurity department. They will easily remove the email, and the computers in the whole network can be saved.
  • Update the Operating System: Regular updates will keep you at peace and ease. Perform the updates with the latest security patches. It will make it hard for cybercriminals to exploit any system vulnerability.
  • Endpoint Protection: The next-generation antivirus protects the system devices from fileless and zero-day malware whose signatures cannot be found in your system. Most antiviruses are designed to protect against the computer’s endpoint.
  • Never Visit Unsafe Websites: I recommend visiting websites that start with ‘HTTPS’ instead of ‘HTTP’. The ‘HTTPS’ sites are secured and locked, and the licensed antivirus in your device will always block suspicious websites. So, do not try to surpass or open them.
  • Use Secure VPN Services: Public Wi-Fi becomes a serious threat if you are using transferring financial documents, confidential files, or carrying out any money transaction. If you have to use it, use a secure VPN service only.

How to Test Ransomware Protection?

Now, you know how to protect your system against Ransomware and its related strains. Prevention is Better than Cure, as we say. Does the question now arise of how to test Ransomware protection? US-based companies and individual users can run a Ransomware Readiness Assessment, an advanced tool devised by US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. It will help detect how protective is a particular malware tool against a specific type of Ransomware. Reputed agencies provide a few kits to test the strains of Ransomware. You can run a dummy test always.

These Ransomware kits allow you to launch a dummy attack using one of the files to check if the present malware protection is great against the strain or not. Along with this assessment tool, you can always use penetration testers to test the consequences of the Ransomware attack. It helps you test the defenses that are thought to be quite strong and must be remediated before it’s too late. They will testify about the vulnerabilities in the underlying infrastructure of the companies and testify them to the organization’s cybersecurity department. It will help in discovering security flaws and treating them at the right time.

Can Windows 10 Defender Detect Ransomware?

Microsoft 365 Defender works as the protective layer against sophisticated attacks launched by hackers. It is a type of unified pre-, and post-breach enterprise suite that helps with detection, prevention, investigation, and an integrated approach can be followed against the endpoint protection and the emails. The integrated Microsoft 365 Defender solution in the new Windows Operating System stitches the threat signals together. It lets the cybersecurity department work on the impact of the threats.

This Windows 10 defender will also help identify security risks and prevent harmful activities. If there are any advanced threats, the defender detects and uses the Azure Active Directory to identify, detect, and investigate the advanced threats and provide well-knit solutions. Moreover, you get Microsoft 365 Defender for the Cloud Apps, which provides comprehensive solutions using cross-SaaS that helps with strong data controls, enhanced threat protection, and deep visibility. I hope this clarifies your question: Can Windows 10 Defender detect Ransomware or not? So, the answer is loud and clear YES.

Can You Simulate A Ransomware Attack?

Most organizations talk about their employees falling prey to Ransomware attacks. Many community forums have this question repeatedly asked- can you simulate a Ransomware attack? The answer is YES. 

If you want to check whether your system and the whole network are secured against social engineering tactics or not, then you can use Ransomware Simulator by KnowBe4. This RanSim will simulate 22 Ransomware infections and one crypto mining infection to launch a crypto Ransomware attack and screen locker Ransomware attack. Now, here’s how it works:

  • Get the KnowBe4 RanSim kit to launch the 100% harmless but simulated Ransomware and crypto mining attack.
  • Never use your confidential data files, but use the dummy files for this attack.
  • It will help launch 23 types of Ransomware infections to testify to the Ransomware protection in your device.
  • You have to download KnowBe4 and run the installer on your computer.
  • It provides you results in a few minutes after successfully running it.

This simulator tool will help detect vulnerabilities in your device or the network. You can fix them timely to avert any big threat that can cause you a loss of money and reputation.

How do I Know if I have Ransomware?

We have been talking about Ransomware attacks and how cybercriminals launch them. But how do I know if I have Ransomware? It is the biggest question that still hovers over my mind and yours. Well, it can arrive as an email attachment, a pop-up ad, or a fake website that is too lucrative to click. Now, as you use any of these, you can catch Ransomware on your device. 

The impact of Ransomware is so severe that it can lock every last file present on your device, and the ransom needs to be paid to unlock those files. Most organizations or users do not get the decryption key if the ransom is even paid. Often, the attack launched is disguised as a notice from the US Cybersecurity Agency that charges you a penalty for clicking on pornographic or abusive links. Here, users may not have performed all these actions, but the threats are curated so that the person is forced to click on provided links. It can ask you to deposit a small fee, or it needs to pay if the organization has cryptocurrency. 

There are a few warning signs user needs to be aware of when identifying a Ransomware attack:

  • The suspicious email attachment looks quite trustworthy.
  • Using of active directory access to gain access to your company’s domain
  • Hackers may try to infiltrate your systems by using the network scanners.
  • Many software removal programs like GMER and Process Hacker can cause antivirus removal from your system.
  • If there is a presence of MimiKatz in your system, it can steal the system’s credentials and is always a red flag.
  • The hackers launch small test attacks to check out the vulnerabilities in your device and network. It will then give rise to a full-fledged attack.

Can antivirus detect Ransomware?

Let me be very true here when talking about a Ransomware attack, and only a strong anti-malware tool can prevent this type of cyber-attack. Many of you have put up the questions on the community forum can antivirus detect ransomware? Yes, to a certain extent. Most antivirus software like Avast, McAfee, etc., are meant to detect a few strains of Ransomware and avert the data from getting encrypted. 

Most antivirus software has spam filters that prevent users from getting threats and malicious emails. You can also get these antiviruses for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices. The users can run the scan for any malicious files now and then to keep their system secure. It is advisable to use security patches to update the OS systems and secure them fully.

Recommended Reading

How to Recover From Ransomware Attack 

The recent attack on CISCO and other popular companies showcases how poor online security can be and how one wrong decision of opening the link can cause you millions of rupees. I talk a lot about Ransomware in my write-ups to make people aware of the consequences of Ransomware. It is like an exploitation of the user or a company undergoing maximum harassment at the hands of the cybercriminal.

Most of these attacks are conducted to demand Bitcoin or other types of cryptocurrencies from the users. Other types of attackers may demand gift cards from the users. Ransomware can make life quite complicated for users. It is necessary to prevent these attacks by keeping in mind preventive measures. I recommend not clicking the suspicious emails and messages on the systems to help avert these attacks altogether.

In this detailed guide, I will talk about how Ransomware spreads on a network and how to recover from the Ransomware attack. 

How to Recover from Ransomware Attack

Every 11 seconds, a Ransomware attack is conducted on the business. Its global cost has reached almost $20 billion annually. The most common cause of the Ransomware attack is a phishing email. More than 29% of attacks happen yearly to companies and individual users. Let us now give you the solution to the most asked question. 

How to recover from a Ransomware attack? First, take precautions and keep an eye on your daily emails. We should not forget what happened with the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, which provides 45% of the East Coast Supply. The company supplies more than 100 million gallons of fuel across the country. When the Ransomware attack happened on the company, they had to pay more than $5 million to decrypt their network system. Many examples have shocked the internet world.

However, the best way to protect your system against Ransomware is to prevent it from getting installed on the system devices. Keep a close eye on the activities of the people around you. If the employees seem to get a trusted-looking email, they must enquire from their cyber cell department. Taking preventive measures in advance rather than being sorry about the same is essential. A data protection strategy must be kept in place to prevent these attacks from occurring repeatedly. Moreover, companies need to identify their endpoints that are prone to attacks. It will help them fix them at the right time.

Let me now tell you the top ways to recover from Ransomware attacks.

  • Disconnect from All the Systems: If the infected device is connected to any network or virtual systems, you need to disconnect all the devices asap. It will help quarantine the said device, and you can save other connected devices from getting infected.
  • Convey About the Attack to the Authorities: FBI and U.S. Cyber Security Department have issued guidelines for companies to report any Ransomware attacks. Instead of giving ransom money to cybercriminals, it is necessary to provide information to the concerned authorities to save your brand.
  • Always Keep a Backup: Companies must back up their data on cloud storage or externally to safeguard from any untoward malicious malware attacks. Keeping a backup means uploading important data even if the website has been encrypted or compromised. You can always bypass the Ransomware and reboot the device to reach the stage before the attack. Always disconnect your device before rebooting, and stop spreading Ransomware like wildfire. 
  • Use Decryption Tool: Installing antivirus like Avast and McAfee can help detect any malicious activity. I recommend buying a licensed antivirus instead of downloading the ones from the internet. Secondly, a robust decryption tool can help decrypt the data encrypted by the attackers. You can use one from Kaspersky to counter these attacks because it recognizes many types of Ransomware strains like locker and crypto.
  • Full Cleansing of the Computer Device: It is advisable to wipe out any trace of duplicate files created on your device. A few software packages are available that help cleanse your data from the system. In case you feel the material is dark, it is advisable to clean the storage system fully. You can reinstall everything fully.

Recovering from Ransomware may not seem easy, but by taking some precautionary measures, you can safeguard confidential information. Always be up in arms with the updated antivirus and other decryption tools.

How does Ransomware Attacks get Resolved?

Ransomware can exploit the device to the extent that a user cannot access the information anymore. If you pay the gangs, there is no guarantee that they will provide the decryption key. Social engineering and phishing are the two most modules through which attacks are carried out. A few times, attackers have provided the decryption key for the particular strain to resolve the Ransomware attack. 

Here is the complete solution, along with the steps to help users know the answer to how do Ransomware attacks get resolved. Firstly, I will quickly tell you how to defeat this malware that has become an economic trend among cybercriminals. Here are a few ways:

  • Isolate your device from other devices connected to the network. Seek the vulnerable endpoint and immediately isolate it to prevent it from spreading. 
  • Each Ransomware strain is different from the other one. It is important to identify the right one by scanning the files and folders to get a clear picture. Accordingly, run the decryption tool to bypass the Ransomware stage.
  • Determine the best option to deal with the Ransomware attack launched on your professional device. You can either report to the concerned authorities, use the right decryption tool, isolate the infection completely, and much more.
  • Every company is advised to keep a backup of their files on the cloud storage. It is to deal with a situation like this. The safe backups and the available software will help to provide a new, refreshed look to your device. 
  • Always keep in mind how the last attack happened. Learn from it, and make a good prevention plan so that there is no occurrence of the problem in the future.

Apart from this, the Ransomware can be fixed by the user using the following significant steps.

Step 1: Restart the computer

Step 2: Press the F8 key while the whole system is getting a bootup

Step 3: Now, use the arrow key to tap on the Safe Mode option on your computer screen

Step 4: Type ‘rstrui.exe’ using the text cursor, and press Enter

Step 5: Select the Windows System Restore screen, and choose the date to restore your computer to this step.

Step 6: Use another device connected to the network to download the licensed decryption tool.

Step 7: Now, copy the software installer file to install it on the Ransomware-infected device

Step 8: After this step, run the full scan and select all the Ransomware infections to delete them.

These are a few steps to resolve the Ransomware attack. You must always take professional help if things have gone too far.

Can a Company Recover from a Ransomware Attack?

Companies like financial institutions, oil and natural gas, government agencies, supply chain companies, and many more have become the target of Ransomware gangs. CISCO was the recent target in 2022 when the attackers launched an attack through a phishing email.

Can a company recover from a Ransomware attack? After hearing these news reports, you must wonder about the same. Yes, your company can recover from the Ransomware attack if the right steps are followed. Even the latest Windows 10 and 11 can use Microsoft Defender for Office 365 to recover from the Ransomware attack. Along with this, I will recommend the following these ways:

  • File a report with the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on their Ransomware reporting site. 
  • Never pay the costly Ransomware if the strain can be identified and removed altogether. Do not give unnecessary encouragement to cybercriminals.
  • Modern in-built tools in the Windows Operating System nowadays will help remove the corrupt data and make a recovery effective.
  • If a few files are deleted, use the necessary software to recover them. Do not go for manual scanning, as it can take time.

Recovery after the Ransomware attack can be tedious. By following the right steps, companies can retrieve the files fully too.

How does Ransomware Spread On a Network?

Ransomware is mainly of two types: locker Ransomware and crypto- Ransomware. Both these types are stated to make your device vulnerable and attack the whole system. It encrypts the files and publishes the message that the attackers will leak the company’s sensitive information. Let me give you a sneak peek at how Ransomware spreads on a network.

  • Through USBs and third-party plugins
  • Phishing emails
  • Via screen lockers, crypto lockers, and locker Ransomware
  • Downloading the suspicious files
  • Clicking on the pop-up ads

You need to identify the endpoint that has become vulnerable to stop these kinds of attacks. Stay calm in this situation and determine the best way to come out of this dilemmatic situation.

Recommended Reading

How To Remove Ransomware From Android Phones

Since I started sharing key information about Ransomware, there is always a new thing I am sharing with my readers. Today, I would like you all to know about mobile Ransomware. Yes, Ransomware not only disrupts and locks the computer devices connected to a particular organization’s network but can also lock your Android or iOS devices. In return, the ransom gangs will ask for a ransom to provide the decryption key. Ransomware usually enters a user’s website through fake apps or by clicking on unwanted links. I will be taking up detailed insight into mobile Ransomware, how to remove it, and how an individual can save their Android device.

Can You get Ransomware on Android?

Mobile Ransomware is not a new thing anymore because a Ransomware campaign lodged by cybercriminals recently infected 10+million devices from more than 70 countries. It is a whopping number where individuals were tricked into paying for the services they never wanted. The name of the malware was GriftHorse, and Zimperium zLabs researchers discovered it. Their last update was released in April 2021 before the researchers found it.

So, if you are searching for an answer, can you get Ransomware on an Android device? The answer is YES. It is a virus-infested malware that works to destroy and encrypt Android’s operating system. The Ransomware works the same as it will work for any particular company’s device. An individual has to either buy a service they never wanted or gift cards for the Ransomware gangs. If not done so, the malware will leak their confidential files into the public domain. Therefore, awareness is necessary.

How will I Know if My Phone has been Infected?

One fine Monday morning, you pick up your phone and instantly get a message like “Attention! Your device has been blocked for safety reasons. All the actions performed are blocked.” The charges levied may go from using government-banned websites or scrolling through child or domestic abuse sites. No wonder there wasn’t any click done from your end. It is how Ransomware creates panic in a person’s mind. It will trick you into paying an Android user a hefty amount or purchasing gift cards for the Ransomware gang before getting the decryption key. Most gangs now want the users to buy cryptocurrency for them.

So, the answer to the question of how will I know if my phone has been infected is simply that the crypto or locker Ransomware locks an individual’s phone demanding handsome money. The Ransomware gang provides the decryption key. It may work, or it won’t. The MalLocker.B or Koler.a are some of the classic examples of  Android Ransomware. This Ransomware malware tricks the users into paying the ransom, citing they have committed a crime forbidden by the country’s law. Users who see these flash messages must immediately report them to law enforcement agencies or the FBI.

How to Remove Ransomware from Android Phones?

The million-dollar question that arises in the user’s mind is how their device got infected in the first place. Secondly, how to remove Ransomware from Android phones if it has happened?

Let me first explain how Ransomware gets into the user’s Android device. It may happen in the following ways:

  • Clicking on the phishing email attachment
  • Using the third-party website
  • Clicked on some infected link, advertisement, or survey on the social media platform
  • You must have clicked some links connected to making more money on online forums that contain malicious links.
  • Must have downloaded some cracked online games
  • Being tricked into some mobile phishing schemes
  • You must have downloaded a virus-infested antivirus for your Android phone or the media player to hear music.

If you do these things, your Android phone gets infected with malicious Ransomware. It encrypts the whole device leaving users at the mercy of cybercriminals. However, users using Android 8.0 and above versions can safeguard themselves from these kinds of alert window messages. Google has introduced a feature,’ Kill Switch’, in which users must undergo many such alerts Windows before granting access to such malicious pop-ups. So, if sensing danger, the users can close the alert before the hackers can twist the game for their benefit.

Apart from this, the Microsoft 365 Defender Research team is helping Android users identify such kinds of Ransomware and assisting people in deleting it. There are a few steps that can help in removing the Ransomware from your device:

  • Quarantine your Android device as soon as the Ransomware alert message appears. Disconnect the device from all other devices and the Wi-Fi network to save other devices. Remove the sim from the phone, and leave it. Inform the stated local authorities that can help you.
  • Restarting the Smartphone in “safe mode” is another option. Users can turn the phone off for the Samsung phone and then switch it on. The logo of Samsung will appear on the screen. You need to hold the Power Button and Volume Down buttons together. If you are using Huawei Smartphone, hold the Volume Up device to turn the phone On.
  • When identifying the malicious app, delete the particular app from your Smartphone. Tap on it, and Uninstall the app.
  • You must reset the default settings to avert any pop-up ads appearing on your browsers. Android does not have a feature, so you must do it manually. Here, open the Settings app, select Chrome, and then go to storage settings. After this, Manage storage, clear all the data, and click OK on the restoration process.
  • Using Android Ransomware removal is another option. For that, hire a professional. You may not know the type of strain of Ransomware, so it is advisable to combat the types of attacks using the Android Ransomware removal software.
  • Using a licensed online decryption tool is advisable to remove the Ransomware from your Android device. Users can use Bitdefender, Crypto Sheriff, and ID Ransom to determine the type of Ransomware that has infected the Android device. After this, you can use the decryption resources to unlock the device using Avast, Kaspersky, QuickHeal, and Nomoreransom.org.

Most countries like the USA have cybercrime departments and the FBI to look after the Ransomware strain launched on the user’s phone. One can contact the stated authorities for the same.

How To Protect Your Android Phone From Ransomware?

As we say, “Prevention is better than Cure,” so here is the take: keep away from clicking on the malicious links or apps that pop up on your browser. You must make backups regularly; if a problem occurs, you can retrieve the data seamlessly. Moreover, you can restore your device to normal if the problem has occurred.

Stay alert online when using the apps or clicking on the links. It’s always advisable not to trust the links shared by strangers whom you don’t know. Let me help you to understand how to protect your Android phone from Ransomware. Here are a few quick solutions:

  • Always download the apps from trusted resources. Android phone users must download the apps from the Google Play Store only. Google reviews on third-party platforms, so never trust the online links provided for gaming apps, eCommerce apps, etc.
  • Your device’s backup will help you access the files at the right time in case anything untoward happens. If you need to reset your Smartphone, the data can be restored from there.
  • A Password Manager will help manage the device logins. It will help you create strong and safe passwords that you can use across various devices.
  • Do not make the Smartphone vulnerable. Always update the software so that it will help in saving the Android device from any attack.
  • Do not keep your personal and banking details on the phone.

These are a few ways to conserve and protect Smartphones and tablets against malicious software and apps. If these are difficult to detect, you always have the FBI at your discretion.

Does Factory Reset Remove Ransomware?

Well, it must be clear how Ransomware gets into the Android device, how to remove it, and how to protect your phone. However, there are ways to remove Ransomware, and one of them is Factory Reset. Does factory reset remove Ransomware? If you were finding the answer to this question, I am solving your problem again. Yes, a factory reset of your phone can help bypass the Ransomware strain. However, as I mentioned earlier, your device must have a backup done.

You can do it in the following easy steps:

Step 1: Search for the Factory Reset page.

Step 2: Enter the PIN or Code of your Smartphone, and erase everything.

Step 3: After this, reboot the phone when starting the device. Keep up with your data and apps, and restore the backup of your files before the onset of encryption.

Ensure these 3 steps exactly to help restore your Android phone to safe mode. Always keep a backup of your phone.

Recommended Reading

What Does Ransomware Do to An Endpoint Device?

Recently, I have been reading a lot about endpoint device Ransomware attacks, and the community members are asking various questions. Endpoint devices relate to devices that are connected with LAN and WAN. These devices can be a desktop, smartphone, tablet, computer, or printer. Majorly the external sources are vulnerable to a Ransomware attack. A report by Ivanti showcases an upsurge in Ransomware attacks, as there has been a jump of almost 7.6%. It shows that industries need to work on vulnerabilities fast.

Read this guide to get a detailed insight into what people are asking on endpoint devices and Ransomware attacks.

What Does Ransomware do to an Endpoint Device?

The major question that must be making waves in your mind must be what is a device endpoint? And another question that may come after this is what ransomware does to an endpoint device. As stated above, an endpoint device is an internet-based computer hardware device dependent on the TCP/IP network. The POS terminals and other daily use gadgets work as endpoint devices through which the Ransomware attacks occur.

Now, a USB device or vulnerability in the computer network can lead to a full-fledged Ransomware attack. Ransomware through endpoint devices leads to user data encryption by releasing corrupted files through external devices. I recommend using the policy-based cyber security approach to safeguard network data. It will help in sorting the security challenges faced by devices nowadays. There should be limited to no access provided to employees’ devices under the BYOD policy. All these important features can stop any vulnerability exploitation.

What Does A Ransomware Attack Look Like?

Ransomware has become a serious issue in the past few years as it has launched a full-fledged attack on many popular US-based industries. I have discussed in my few write-ups that it mainly occurs through phishing emails and via software downloaded through online sources. A cybersecurity attack report by Cybersecurity Ventures also states that the global Ransomware global cost is predicted to exceed $265 billion by 2031. The Ransomware attacks will start happening every two seconds by the year 2031.

If you are an IT device user or an IoT device user and wondering what a ransomware attack looks like or what happens when a Ransomware attack occurs, let me tell you simply it encrypts all your files inside the computer device or the server. The Ransomware gangs exploit the vulnerabilities in the system to retrieve a large sum of money from the victims.

What does ransomware do to Your Computer?

A usual day in your life is sitting in the office, scrolling through emails, and suddenly an important-looking email pops up. You open it, and it starts getting encrypted within a few seconds. Helpless! Yes, this is what ransomware does. If you asked this question on some community forum, what does ransomware do to your computer, or what damage can ransomware do to your computer? I am going to discuss the same with everyone here.

It encrypts all the files and denies you access to the computer device. The helplessness of the user increases when a few files start destroying on their own. Being the boss of your device, you cannot access your computer or laptop. Big brands to small companies are asked to pay hundreds of dollars to release the decryption key. The consequences can be grave enough if a user opens a phishing email or clicks on some random advertising pop-up.

The modern social engineering processes and many aggressive forms of Ransomware attacks like NotPetya can dig security holes in your server and computer. Most cybercriminals launch a full-fledged crypto Ransomware attack, and then the screen Ransomware attacks appear. The ransom amount is demanded in crypto rather than cash or any other mode. Many Ransomware gangs can demand gift cards to provide the decryption key. However, I would like to share that sometimes the attackers do not release the decryption key. They may take a hefty amount and leak your company’s confidential information.

Because of these attacks, I would recommend creating a duplicate copy of your website and securing it, taking regular backups of your data, and always complaining about the attack to the FBI or the US Cybersecurity Agencies. It will help you get insurance in case the data is lost. Always keep the proof of a Ransomware attack by making a video or taking screenshots of your device if you can.

How does Ransomware Infect Devices?

Ransomware either causes infection through endpoint devices or malicious emails. Crypto locker and screen ransomware are known to cause much destruction when they spread through computer devices or other devices connected with LAN or WAN networks. It can be a tablet, smartphone, printer, or laptop.

The web-based instant messaging and other organizational networks also cause Ransomware infection. However, many new types of strains devised by hackers lead to destruction. When ransomware infects the devices, the victims are sent a flash message to provide the ransom within the stipulated time to avert the leaking of confidential information online. A few Ransomware strains can be bypassed by the cyber security professionals of the organization, but most advanced strains may cause full destruction of the devices too. It leads to paying of ransom amount to retrieve the decryption key.

I hope you are now abreast with how ransomware infects devices and how fast it can spread through the endpoint devices into your network operating systems. The temporary or permanent loss caused by the Ransomware attack still causes huge company problems. It is advisable to curate robust endpoint use policies in an organization to safeguard the system devices against any potential harm or financial losses.

Recommended Reading

How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?

Ransomware is malware that often hampers the seamless flow of data in our computers, denying users access to all that essential data. Such data can only be accessed when the organization pays the ransom asked by the hackers, or else they delete them. Thus, these organizations feel it is better to pay the ransom asked by those cyberattacks to gain the assessment of those files and data. Hence, this Ransomware occurs in different ways, like phishing or downloading unknown drives or websites.

How do Ransomware Attacks Happen

People might go through this segment as this is highly crucial to make them know how these Ransomware attacks happen. Thus, there are three important reasons behind its occurrence- elaborating on each of them briefly. Unfortunately, many reputable business entrepreneurs face this problem because they fail to follow the typical cybersecurity framework. So, this article will give you accurate information about how Ransomware attacks happen and other relevant information on this malware.

  • Ransomware Attack 1: Open RDP Ports

Remote Desktop Protocol is an access portal where a cyber hacker can connect with any computer sitting far away from it. Many companies use the remote desktop protocol created by Windows to fix the defects of other employees’ devices. Unfortunately, cyber attacks misuse this type of protocol by hacking other devices. When this RDP is misconfigured, a cybercriminal can quickly launch ransom attacks on any business network.

  • Ransomware Attack 2: Phishing Emails

Many reputable companies get attacked by malicious emails, known as phishing. Once the employees of a company click these emails, these organizations fall into the trap of Ransomware. Then the cybercriminals asked for ransom from them, which they had to pay to access those files. So phishing is back in the market, which is very difficult to stop and controlled by cyber branches.

  • Ransomware Attack 3: Exploit Scheme

One dangerous way Ransomware enters the devices is through vulnerabilities written into an exploit kit. A malware tool used by cybercriminals to attack Ransomware enters through the existing security gaps due to manufacturing problems. This tool is coded with malicious scripts so that hackers can easily access anyone’s computer and ask for a hefty ransom.

How Quickly Does Ransomware Spread

I went to the statistical survey of 2021 to find out how quickly does Ransomware spread. It says that the average time taken by Ransomware is 20 days. According to recent research, Ransomware has attacked 20 devices connecting simultaneously in a US-based company. Many cyber securities have traced that it made a massive loss of $7.5 billion in 2019. It has been the most considerable amount that a company has to pay as a ransom. I was stunned after seeing the amount, destructive like a massive earthquake that takes twenty years to fulfill the enormous loss.

How Ransomware Attacks are Carried Out

As far as I know, Ransomware spreads through malicious emails, called phishing. It contains malicious links and attachments or directly through drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading refers to the sites which, after downloading, cause disaster to the device. For example, when a link is downloaded, it is already an infected website, so I am downloading and installing malware on my device without having proper knowledge of the situation.

Another type of Ransomware is known as Crypto Ransomware. The answer is justified to the question: How Ransomware attacks are carried out? It acts as a malware variant that often encrypts files. This type of malware is caused by the same modes and is spread through similar methods. Primarily it is spread through social media platforms; one example is instant e-messaging applications. Additionally, researchers have found variable methods of Ransomware infection. For example, many cybercriminals have exploited Web servers, making them an entry point to access an organization’s network.

How to Prevent Ransomware

Prevention from Ransomware is challenging, and many reputations hire data recovery specialists to recover their form of Ransomware. Thus, US-CERT recommends that companies and the administration should take primitive protection and adhere to the below steps to protect their computer from Ransomware. These tips can answer how to prevent Ransomware.

  • Discern the data backup and recovery plan, perform the regular backups and keep it in a separate folder or drive so that none can see them easily. 
  • Keep a strong password and keep your system up to date so that no Ransomware can attack the device. In addition, every network should be processed and checked periodically for optimum protection, and critical backups should be isolated.
  • Enabling macros from email attachments is another embedded code that can allow the malware to wreck your computer.
  • Stop following unsolicited web links that may contain malware entered through other devices or attacked by hackers.

Many multinational companies discourage paying the ransom because the hackers do not guarantee they will return all the hacked files and data. It’s better to take preventive measures to control Ransomware and abolish paying Ransomware to bad people.

How does Ransomware Spread

When Ransomware attacks the computer, it says it’s been locked and unable to open after switching the device. Suppose my device has been affected by Ransomware, so when do I realize that Ransomware has attacked my device? I will bet a Ransomware note displaying the ransom amount, and all the files are appended to the .txt file.

That means all the files are appended to other file names or get another extension. Some examples of Ransomware extensions are – .locked, .crypto, _crypt, .cricinfo, .r5a, .crypt, .R16M01D05, .LOL!.OMG!, RRK, .encryptedRSA, .cr joker, . .keybtc@inbox_com, .vault, .HA3, .toxcrypt, and many more. Ransomware is always a greater threat to the IT industry, it encrypts files and important data, and to get them back, these companies have to pay a large ransom. Ransomware also incorporates lateral movement to harm large data breaches and simultaneously hammering 20 to 25 computers.

How does Ransomware Spread?

The answer is lateral movement. It occurs when attackers breach the victim’s perimeter, then slowly move laterally across an environment to other machines. The consequences of these lateral movements are hard to digits for us. It results in a much more expensive and more significant data breach.

This movement starts from the endpoint and takes down tens of thousands of end-user computers. If an external-facing workload is compromised, an attacker can move laterally to the valuable residing data, for example, database servers. Ransomware starts from the end-point and goes to other endpoints users via RDP, SMB, SIP, Skype, etc. Peer-to-peer (P2P) applications without involving any communication between endpoints and servers.

What is the Aftermath of Ransomware Attacks?

Ransomware attacks happen due to phishing and wrench remote access. The aftermath of these Ransomware attacks is dangerous. Taking primitive steps, the recovery would be the next step after the computer is hacked. The hacker would ask you for the Ransome, and paying them would be our only option.

But to take measures so that our computers would not get hacked often, like installing antivirus, stopping phishing, and taking post-exploitation techniques to deploy Ransomware, would be our strict steps. So if anybody asks me What is the Aftermath of Ransomware Attacks? Deploying Ransomware from the device is not a joke; we have to hire data recovery specialists or incorporate tools.

Top Tips to Prevent Ransomware

I have prepared top tips to prevent Ransomware, which would help prevent Ransomware. Let’s take regular preventive measures to stop Ransomware from attacking our computers.

  • First, wherever business entrepreneurs install new data, it’s better to store it, access it, and then move it to another device or any storage drive.
  • Make tight security campaigns by installing the best antivirus and other security tools to prevent Ransomware.
  • Getting backups and running them from other devices will be the best option to keep Ransomware at bay. In addition, built-in encryption capabilities protect the backup data in every possible way.
  • Stop installing malicious content from outside. It might be fake.
  • Downloading attachments from outside is not preferable; it can contain malware that will attack your device at the moment.

What can be done to Reduce Ransomware Risk?

Over the past few decades, the rise of Ransomware has been an ever-growing problem. It has been wrecking many computers and emptying the bankroll of many small and big entrepreneurs or other people. Moreover, it has become a trafficking enterprise where the targeted organizations get rid of them after paying the ransom to get their data back — and, unfortunately, this may also be the reality. So, let us find some solutions to reduce the risk of Ransomware attacks.

To reduce the risk, the victims like me must adopt principles and strategies and implement them in the everyday workflow. Blocking email gateways and sandboxing can limit the attacks of Ransomware. Installing firewall technology and web application security can help us; it acts as multiplayer protection from email-borne threats and adds a layer of protection. Finally, share the files with the threat intelligence sharing so they can help in the need. If I come across this question: what can be done to reduce Ransomware risk? This segment answers. These steps can minimize the Ransomware risk and help you to get rid of ransoms.

Recommended Reading

How to Know if Malware is on Your iPhone

iPhones are typically thought to be safer and more secure than Android phones, but these safety stats often don’t show the whole picture. There are far more Android devices in the wild than there are iPhones, and Android phone manufacturers can install their software which introduces security vulnerabilities. iPhones and their software are controlled by Apple, making it easier to patch glaring vulnerabilities. But, the fewer devices and greater control don’t make iPhones immune to malware. Instead, there have been instances where vulnerabilities and exploits have been discovered on iPhones or Safari, leaving millions of iPhone owners vulnerable to attacks.

To determine if your iPhone has been infected with malware, keep reading.

How do I Check for Malware on my iPhone?

The best way to check for malware on your iPhone is to assess your phone’s storage. Look at your photos and videos and then determine if your storage is where it should be; if it’s lower than it should be, your phone likely has a virus.

Another way to determine if your iPhone has malware is to consider if you’ve ever had it jailbroken or downloaded apps outside the Appstore, then check your phone for apps you didn’t download. Unfamiliar apps are a sign you have malware.

If your phone overheats or your battery is going quickly, these are also signs of malware.

Alternatively, you could download an antivirus and scan your iPhone for threats.

Can iPhone be Infected With Malware?

The short answer is yes, but it requires you to do something. iPhones are isolated from other ecosystems. Every app on the AppStore has to be vetted by Apple, which means most apps you download won’t have malware. 

But, if you download apps from somewhere other than the AppStore or use public wifi, you place yourself at risk of getting malware. You’re also at risk of getting malware by visiting that have been compromised.

How to Get Rid of Malware on iPhone

If you discover you have malware on your iPhone, don’t be alarmed, you can remove it by following five easy steps.

Step 1: Update Your iPhone

Start by updating your phone. Often, there are vulnerabilities in older software that cybercriminals can exploit. Because of this, Apple frequently patches vulnerabilities.

To update your iPhone, navigate to settings, select general, and then software update.

Step 2: Uninstall Suspicious Apps

Typically, only jailbroken phones download suspicious apps or spyware. But not all apps will show up as icons. Some apps are hidden to go undetected.

To find and delete these apps, go to App Store and navigate to purchased apps. Search for apps you don’t remember downloading, and then delete those. You should also delete apps you downloaded from outside the App Store.

Then, select “Not on this iPhone” to view hidden apps and deselect permissions to all these apps.

Step 3: Clear Your Web Browser Data and Browsing History

If you unintentionally got malware from a compromised website, clearing your browsing history will ensure you aren’t unintentionally downloading malware again.

Step 4: Backup Your Data

The final step requires you to restore your phone’s factory settings, which would require you to back up your data to ensure you won’t lose any vital information.

Step 5: Factory Reset Your Device

To clear your iPhone of any malware, conduct a factory reset. The phone should reset to its original — malware-free — version. 

How Likely is it for an iPhone to Get Malware?

It is unlikely for an iPhone to get malware — that is, if you’re the typical user.

iPhones have all these protections to help secure the phone from threats. The primary protections include phones only being allowed to download apps from the AppStore — which has a rigorous screening process for apps — and sandboxing apps. Sandboxed apps do not interact with other apps or the phone’s operating system. This limits the environments in which certain codes can execute.

Although these are the protections most iPhone users access, which makes it rare that iPhones are infected with malware, there are exceptions to this rule. Users who jailbreak their iPhones give up these protections. Therefore, malware is common for jailbroken iPhones, and almost all iPhones that have been jailbroken will have malware.

How to Find Hidden Malware on iPhone

Not all malware is going to show up as an icon. Instead, most malware is hidden to ensure it can go undetected. To find hidden malware, follow the steps below.

Visit The App Store

To find hidden apps, visit the App Store.

Select Purchased

Select purchased to show a list of all the apps you’ve downloaded.

Navigate to “Not on this iPhone.”

To find apps no longer on your device, select “Not on this iPhone” to see a list of previously deleted — or hidden — apps.

If you’ve jailbroken your phone, use Safari and enter “localhost: 8888” or “localhost: 4444” to get a list of apps downloaded through Cydia.

If none of these work, consider getting reputable anti-malware and conduct a scan on your device to locate and remove hidden malware.

Can an iPhone Get a Virus From Safari?    

Safari can be a gateway to viruses similar to any other web browser. The myth that Apple and, as a result, Safari is safer than Android and its web browsers is a myth that has been disproven by researchers.

However, getting a virus from Safari requires two things: that your phone has been jailbroken, and your operating system isn’t updated.

If that is the case, the website you visit could download malware onto your iPhone. For that reason, you should only visit secure websites.

Potential Signs of Malware on Your iPhone

If you’re unsure whether your iPhone has malware, you can look for the seven common signs your phone is infected. Your phone doesn’t have to have all seven signs to be infected; instead, one or two is an indication malware is present, and more than two means your iPhone has malware.

Excessive Ads Popping UpAdware is one of the most common types of malware because it’s an easy way for the developers of such apps to make money. If you notice a rise in ad placement even after installing an adblocker or when using apps that didn’t show you ads before, your iPhone is likely to have been infected with malware.

  • Apps Crashing Frequently

Malware — especially attacks like crypto-jacking — is memory-intensive. It can use a significant amount of your phone’s RAM to complete several tasks while running in the background. Most iPhone users will check to see what is using their RAM, but often these apps will disguise themselves as a system app. 

Nevertheless, if your apps start crashing frequently — even if you have an older iPhone — it’s likely malware is the cause.

  • Increase in Data Usage

If you notice your mobile data on whichever plan you have is going quicker than usual, malware is probably to blame. Besides crypto-jacking — which uses your phone’s resources to mine cryptocurrency — there’s also a host of other ways malware uses data. These other ways typically revolve around ads — either the malware will inundate your phone with ads, or it carries out unsolicited ad clicks in the background, earning the cybercriminals easy cash.

  • Battery Draining Quickly

With all the stealthy background activity caused by malware, your battery will start to drain quickly. Although iPhones have notoriously shorter battery life than Androids, if your phone’s battery is frequently dying or you need to use a power bank to keep your phone going, you’ve stumbled on a tell-tale sign of malware.

  • Apps You Didn’t Download Appearing

Malware typically compromises your system and uses vulnerabilities to its advantage. Some malware is developed for the sole purpose of ensuring other — more unscrupulous apps — can piggyback off of it and find its way onto your phone. The initial app may only have adware, but subsequent apps could contain spyware, crypto-malware, or even ransomware.

If malware isn’t introducing other apps to your phone, it may have compromised your phone to the extent that you could end up downloading an app just by browsing the web.

  • Phone Overheating

For the same reasons malware could result in your phone’s battery draining quickly, it could cause your phone to overheat. Malware’s background activity is intensive and can cause your phone to expend lots of energy in a short period, resulting in it overheating.

Of course, before blaming malware, consider the temperature and your usage. If you can rule out both, and your phone is overheating more than other iPhone users in your circle, you likely have malware.

  • Excessively High Phone Bill

Malware can use your phone to text friends and contacts. Typically, these texts will include links to get the malware to spread. Therefore, a tell-tale sign of malware is a higher-than-average phone bill.

You can see if “you” have been sending more text messages by reviewing the SMS tab beneath your phone bill and comparing it to your text message history. 

How to Protect Your iPhone from Malware

If you don’t feel like dealing with the seven signs above or the host of other ways malware affects iPhones, you should pay special attention to how you can protect your iPhone from malware. These tips should maintain your phone’s protection and ensure you’re part of the millions of iPhone users who will never experience malware.

Don’t Jailbreak Your iPhone

If you don’t know what jailbreaking is, this shouldn’t be a concern unless you’ve jailbroken your phone without realizing it.

If your phone has or had any of the following apps, it has been jailbroken:

  • Cydia
  • Altstore
  • Unc0ver

If you have jailbroken your phone, you’ll have to uninstall those apps and unjailbreak your phone, resetting it to the original factory settings.

Restrict App Permissions

Malware will often need access to different functions on your phone to carry out their malicious intentions. By limiting each app’s permissions, you can limit their harm. When restricting permissions, focus on apps that want to access data that isn’t relevant to their functions.

Avoid Using Public Wifi

When you use public wifi, you give cybercriminals unlimited access to your iPhone. Not only can cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities in public wifi to gain access to your phone, but you could also unknowingly be sharing all the information on — and access to — your phone. Networks, like wifi, can allow any device on it the ability to transfer and access information on it. When you link to compromised public wifi, a cybercriminal can share malware with your device without your permission.

Ensure You Have the Latest Updates

The best way to protect your iPhone from malware is to ensure you always have the latest OS and the most recent updates for each app on your phone. The latest updates typically are more secure than older versions, which may have bugs or vulnerabilities cybercriminals have learned to exploit.

Use an Antivirus

If you follow all the other rules to protect your iPhone, you won’t need an antivirus. Since iPhones are isolated from external threats, the possibility of getting a virus is almost nonexistent. But, if you want extra protection, jailbroken your iPhone before, or access public wifi, you should use antivirus. Antivirus will scan your phone for threats and remove the ones it finds.

How Does Malware Affect iPhones?

There are four primary ways malware can affect your iPhone. These four attacks have varying levels of severity and will affect your phone — and in some cases, your life — differently.


Spyware’s purpose is to spy on you. By that definition, it takes place in the background. Cybercriminals can use their microphone to eavesdrop on conversations. Access your screen and apps to see your texts, browsing history, images, videos, and banking information. They can use your selfie or primary camera to spy on you, even when you’re not using your phone. Then, cybercriminals may sell valuable information like your banking data to others or use the data gathered to get the money themselves, either by accessing your accounts and transferring unsolicited amounts or blackmailing you.


Adware is easy, quick cash for cybercriminals which is why it’s the most common kind of malware on any phone. Adware affects your phone by displaying numerous ads or getting unsolicited clicks in the background. This slows your device down, uses more data, and causes your phone to crash or overheat.


As cryptocurrency has become popular, cybercriminals are trying to use available memory on any phone or PC they can hack to carry out crypto mining. Since iPhones have a surplus of RAM, they make the best targets.

Your phone will also overheat, slow down, burn through the battery life, and start crashing as a result.


Ransomware works in the background and the foreground. In the background, it acts quickly to encrypt all your files, blocking your access to them. In the foreground, it gives instructions on regaining access to your files by paying a ransom.

Because ransomware infects your files, it essentially makes your iPhone useless.

Unfortunately, iPhones — like any device that accesses the internet — can fall victim to malware. To ensure your phone isn’t part of those stats, be careful and consider downloading an antivirus for extra protection.

Recommended Reading

Detailed Guide On How Long Does It Take To Decrypt Ransomware

I have been reading news on the ransomware attacks and the ransomware strains for much time now. Whilst going through the online news, I found a couple of reports where the QUAD Nations have come together to fight malicious online activities. The nations will be working together to create peace and harmony in the internet world. Grouping nations like America, Japan, India, and Australia will work together to create a safer cyberspace. It shows that this is the right time that all the companies suffering from malicious cyberattacks, especially Ransomware, must keep reporting.

However, when people look for alternatives to safeguard themselves from ransomware attacks, they seek solutions for decrypting Ransomware. In this guide, I discuss some crucial things on decryption that will prove helpful for readers in the online space.

How Long does it Take to Decrypt Ransomware?

We all know that Ransomware spreads when a malicious file enters the system and starts encrypting the confidential files. It can even encrypt the official files of daily use. Now, when it spreads like wildfire, the users get stuck badly. I have seen companies losing their data even after paying the ransom to the attackers.

The biggest question asked is how long does it take to decrypt Ransomware? Well, it depends on the ransomware one is fighting with. If it’s not a deadly virus spread to make the systems encrypt forever, it can take over one to two days to recover fully from the ransomware attacks. Ransomware attacks lodged to destroy a company fully may never recover because of the strain, and even after paying the ransom, the key was never issued in most cases.

A global report also stated the pitfalls suffered in email security and the provision of services by the Managed Service Providers. The only remedy is to listen to the cyber experts from these MSPs on major email security solutions to get full remedy on the malicious ransomware attacks. See, the biggest picture is that no one wants to fall prey to the cyberattacks, get pressurized by the attackers’ demands, and end up at receiving end. Prevention is better than cure! This is what we say and believe. So, always listen to cybersecurity lessons or training provided inside the companies or by service outsourcing agencies.

One thing I would like to add here is that no data decryption caused by Ransomware can be reverted soon, but a backup can help the company manifold. The backups can save the company culture when all your data is gone. Do not end up feeling sorry for yourself!

Can You Decrypt Ransomware?

Did you hear the latest news on the Lockbit 3.0 Ransomware builder? If not, then here is a glimpse. Most companies practice carrying out dummy ransomware attacks with encryption and decryption keys. It is to train employees and prepare them in case anything absurd happens. Now, the operator at Lockbit 3.0 created an encrypted file and the decryption key from a batch file that ‘The BlooDy Ransomware Gang eventually used’. The gang is now using the Lockbit 3.0 builder’s file to launch full-scale attacks on the companies.

This is an unfortunate incident, but there are many incidents we all have read about in the past too. For some days, I was going through community forums questions where people were asking only one question- can you decrypt Ransomware? Well, the positive answer is YES.

The cyber security department of the firm or industry must be swift enough to acknowledge and identify the Ransomware timely to use the right tool. There are umpteen ransomware tools available online, like QuickHeal, McAfee, etc. It may take days to months to decrypt the ransomware strain. So, always back up and save your files on the cloud. Follow some basic security outlines given by your cybersecurity department to keep away the encrypted system from all other systems present in the company.

Encryption is always unpredictable or unbreakable, so researchers cannot make the possible tools for every type of strain. The key is to identify malicious activities and alert the cyber department of the company. You can always use anti-malware software to run the scan of the devices entirely. Before reinstalling the operating system, scan your system fully like the double-check we do.

How Long does it Take to Recover from Ransomware Attacks?

I have seen that claims put forth by cyber experts on decrypting Ransomware through the use of available tools o matter are doing wonders. What about the recovery time? Has anyone thought about that? Well, launching ransomware attacks and then fully recovering them has a whole new picture and background to it.

I have been searching for the exact answer to how long it takes to recover from a ransomware attack. I have not got an exact answer, but the experts from some 66% of the companies believe it may take five days or more to recover fully. On the other hand, a few experts state recovery may not be possible even after months, and some mention 21 days. It all depends on the strains with which your system is attacked.

To come out of this vicious circle, I think the best way is to prevent Ransomware in the first place. You must follow a robust data protection strategy. Companies and individuals can always do the following:

  • Categorize any endpoints where the ransomware attack can sneak from. Close them asap with the help of your cyber experts.
  • If vulnerabilities exist in your system or network, patch them up fully. It will avert the malware from entering the web system.
  • Training the employees in the company is a must. Always educate them about the type of strains, identification of malicious activities, cyber protocols, etc.
  • It is most important to back up the important data and prepare for the anti-malware tool to remove the data encryption.
  • The duplication of the website offsite or onsite will work wonders. If there is a ransomware attack, you still have the website copy. You can restore it quickly, but you should also ensure its safety, like the Primary one.

How Long does it Take for Ransomware to Work?

I have read about a few ransomware variants in past years that take almost 4-5 minutes to spread to a user’s device. It can encrypt many files within a few minutes, making it impossible for the user to understand what just happened, as it happened in the case of the Lockbit, which took almost 4 minutes and 9 seconds to encrypt 53.83 GB of data across different Windows operating systems.

So, it gives a tentative reply to the question most frequently asked and searched: how long does it take for Ransomware to work. Apart from this above ransomware variant lodged by The BlooDy Gang, some variants hide inside the user’s computer for a long time before lodging a full-scale attack. You can decrypt a few variants after the Ransomware is paid, but, in a few cases, the users do not get access to their confidential data after paying the ransom. This is a mockery done by the attackers, but the ones on the receiving edge are the companies.

A few ransomware strains will start encrypting your whole system even before the PC is handed over to the IT helpdesk of the industry. Several destructions in this timeframe can be grave for your company’s reputation. Customers seem to back out from the companies who have undergone drastic ransomware attacks, fearing leakage of their personal and financial details, especially if it’s an eCommerce Company.

To avoid all the chaos, it would be great if you could do the following:

  • Regular backups for proper safety
  • Never open malicious files or emails, even if it looks like they are coming from trusted sources. Always cross-check with other departments.
  • Never open pop-up ads
  • Install certified anti-malware software to give a good scan to your device

Only the best protective measures can help organizations to keep these attacks minimal as you cannot avoid them.

How Long does it Take to Decrypt Files?

As already told above, decryption is possible for encrypted ransomware files, so it may take around five days or almost 21 to 22 days to recover your files fully. The second thing that most companies have witnessed and stated in the research is that there is less productivity and always some or other material interruption going on.

Companies can recover from ransomware attacks and get their files decrypted if you intimate the concerned authorities and the FBI at the right time. It will help in saving all other systems connected to the web network. However, a negative impact still comes upon the customers that brands need to sort immediately. Ransomware-ready protection at hand will help keep these cyberattack problems at bay. I hope this will help you understand how long does it take to decrypt files, and you can take better protective measures to safeguard your company.

Recommended Reading

How To Install Malwarebytes Without Internet Connection

Malwarebytes is an anti-malware tool that helps detect and remove mischievous codes from your computer. I have found many ways to install it without an internet connection. I have created this article to acknowledge others about installing Malwarebytes without the internet and running them seamlessly on PCs. 

Install Malwarebytes Without Internet

Installing Malwarebytes to a computer without an internet connection or in safe mode, at that time, connect with another Windows with a direct internet connection. Then, installing and updating the Malwarebytes is done through that computer. Download the Malwarebytes, copy the update to date data into another folder, transfer it to the USB drive, and connect to the computer that lacks an internet connection. 

I have created a step-by-step guide to help you install Malwarebytes without the internet on my PC. 

Step 1:

  • First, download the Malwarebytes installer on an internet-connected PC and run its updated database.
  • Copy the mbm-setup exe to your USB drive.
  • Install it on the computer without the internet. 

Step 2: On your PC, search for Malwarebytes and save it in a separate folder for convenience. 

Step 3: Get the Malwarebytes from the application folder, and then turn it on to provide updated data by launching the program after verifying it. 

By following these steps, you can install Malwarebytes without the Internet. 

Why Can’t I Install Malwarebytes?

Sometimes I get trouble installing Malwarebytes on my PCs. In such cases, an error message immediately pops up, saying “Error found while installation,” or the screen displays, “The installation failed.” At that time, restart your computer, but still, if the matter does not solve, check out the below points:

  • Verify My Internet Connection: After falling upon this bandwidth issue, check the internet connection that enables downloading such apps or programs. 
  • Install the Latest OS Updates: if my computer does not have the latest OS updates, new software installation is terminated in the computer. After installing the OD updates, the Malwarebytes program should run or start installing. 
  • Disabling Antivirus can be a Way Out: While downloading Malwarebytes, temporarily turn off the antivirus or Firewall for some time so that the installation may occur smoothly. 

How Do I Run Malwarebytes Without Installing?

The entire Malwarebytes toolset is portable and doesn’t need any internet connection to work. Even it works with an installation. I just plugged my USB stick onto my PC and started scanning. These tools are vividly potent to scan thousands of software and apps within ten seconds. Thus to answer the question: How do I run Malwarebytes without installing it? I bought different tools from Malwarebytes, so they don’t need an installation. However, these Malwarebytes are highly potent for scanning the software or other drives entering my computer daily. 

Can You Run Malwarebytes from a USB?

Firstly, download the Malwarebytes on a USB stick from a safe computer. Then, run it by plugging the USB stick into a computer. It will only run on my PC till the USB stick is plugged in. Once I remove it, the Malwarebytes will stop running on my PC. So, let’s discuss the points on how to save Malwarebytes on the USB port. 

1. First, download the MB-Check and store it on my desktop.

2. Then double-click the MB- Check to make it run MB-Check. The command window will open soon. Then, finally, click “Enter” and accept the EULA. 

3. One log file will be created on the desktop: Mb-check-results.zip.

How do I Install Malwarebytes on my PC?

Malwarebyte is the safe tool that scans the software installed or downloaded on my PC. Follow the below steps to install Malwarebytes on Windows. It also works in reinstallation if Malwarebytes gets deleted from my PC anytime. 

Download the latest version of Malwarebytes for my Windows.

  • Put the cursor on the download for a double click to open the MBSetup.exe setup file. In most cases, when we download something, it goes to the computer’s download folder. Then, click when the User Account Control pops up on your desktop to allow the installation of your Malwarebytes on Windows. 
  • Click on advanced options and choose another installation location for my Malwarebytes. 
  • When the windows asked – whom do you want to protect? – answer the question by marking a small tick sign beside the option- Me or my family. 
  • Wait till the installation is complete. Click on Malwarebytes and start the app.

Thus, after installation, a subscription box also displays. I believe in subscription because Malwarebytes is my necessity, and I can activate Malwarebytes at any time after subscription. 

Does Malwarebyte Need the Internet?

For the initial installation of Malwarebytes, a strong internet connection is required. In simple terms, download Malwarebytes first and then transfer it to a USB port so that you can run it without connecting my PC to wifi. 

If you are running Malwarebytes, disable the wifi connection. Does Malwarebyte need the Internet? Will it work? Yes. Run the Malwarebytes installer on the windows 4 version so we can utilize it without an internet connection. Run the installer separately from other devices so it will not have any connection to the internet. But, I advise you not to start Malwarebytes manually because it can get uninstalled accidentally or intentionally.

Recommended Reading

How To Install Imgburn Without Malware

No doubt, ImgBurn is an incredible ISO creation tool. However, veterans started equipping Open Candy with ImgBurn a few days ago. OpenCandy is an adware application; some antivirus vendors consider it malware or spyware. Some of the licensing text presented during installation defines OpenCandy installation as inevitable. However, if I am willing to uncheck some boxes, I have to purchase an adware-free version of ImgBurn to install.

How do I Install ImgBurn without Malware

Although ImgBurn is considered the most potent disc-burning and creating application, most users say they want to install it without malware. If anyone is seeking the points of How do I Install ImgBurn without Malware, I will guide you to realize it. I am giving you the steps of the installation process-

Step 1: Double click for the installation of ImgBurn; for the Setup, install the extension file that is ImgBurn_version.exe and start the installation.

Step 2: Then tap the Next button to continue the installation until the next step declares “Install AVG Toolbar”. Then select Custom Installation after unchecking all sub-options. The next step says, “Install Mezaa”. 

Step 3: Now complete the installation without malware that does not exist on your PC.

Is ImgBurn a Virus?

ImgBurn is software or a disc authority program that records CD, DVD, and Blue Ray images to the recordable media. It is used for burning the files or data to CD or DVD directly. ImgBurn uses the CPU or GPU sometimes, and if it is a virus, it cannot run from the forefront; malware programs always work in the background. On the other hand, malware files also run through hidden files or extensions. I usually take precautions before installing any foreign extensions on my laptop. If I am still confused on the note, is ImgBurn a virus or not, I check before installing it. 

Check the location to determine whether it is legit software. But consider that malware or viruses are transmitted through .exe files. Take precautions before running any unknown files. So I always check the file location, mostly on C: Program Files (x86)ImgBurn. Another way to check the ImgBurn .exe file that you have installed is legit or not, and start the Task Manager. Then click on the columns field to add Verified Signer, which acts as columns.

Can I trust ImgBurn?

ImgBurn is my long-time trustworthy burning software capable of burning images from CDs or DVDs. I have installed it on my Windows, which is very compatible. The ImgBurn Version pretty good and runs properly on my desktop. ImgBurn, the most reliable and favorable DVD burning software, is dynamically suitable for creating images/folders from simple optical and copying discs to the picture. It can handle various image formats and burns CDs from audio file types. Due to its high speed in burning and copying and lightweight, ImgBurn is considered the most popular DVD burner in the world. So the question: Can I trust ImgBurn? Is it inevitable? 

Is ImgBurn Windows 10 compatible?

Many expert vendors consider ImgBurn the most feasible one that supports all the Microsoft OS, including Windows 95 and 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000 and 2008, Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 10. 

ImgBurn is a feasible and easy-to-use application that incorporates other advanced features that many other tools lack for burning DVDs. It does not need any updates but supports all the latest drives and discerns the advanced settings- i.e., BenQ, NEC, Pioneer, Plextor, Sony. An imaging system is beneficial for burning several images that can be shared between multiple drives and an easy-to-use screen to access double-layer DVD Video jobs. Is ImgBurn Windows 10 Compatible? Microsoft distributes software as an ISO file and acts as a DVD. In Windows 10, I can easily access and work with these files without the interference of any third-party software.

How do I Set up ImgBurn?

Download the ImgBurn extension file to set up the ImgBurn extension. The following steps will help answer the question: How do I Set up ImgBurn?

Step 1: Choose “Run” after downloading the ImgBurn file in the pop-up window.

Step 2: Click on the “Next” option at ImgBurn’s setup wizard that appears on the 1st screen.

Step 3: Select the “Next” button after accepting the license agreement.

Step 4: It is better to leave the default options that say set up and select “Next.”

Step 5: Instead of accepting the default installation location, choose another site to install programs and click “Next”.

Step 6: After completing the installation process, choose “Finish” and start using ImgBurn.

Does ImgBurn have Malware?

In most cases, I feel ImgBurn does not contain any malware. I can prove it too. For that, I took primitive measures to check its legitimacy. First, it needs to check the file’s location and ratings. I also approached the task manager to check its legitimacy. Then I clicked on the verified signer, which declared it legitimate. But, still, I had a question: does ImgBurn have malware? Something disturbs me while downloading ImgBurn. Now look at the verified signer; if it says unable to prove, it contains a virus like adware or malware. 

Through this article, I have shared my feelings and experiences while downloading ImgBurn on my Windows 10. Also, I looked into the developer who created it. If the developer is legit, in most cases, ImgBurn does not contain any virus. However, I advise you to see the developer before installing any unknown extension on the laptops. If you find the developer suspicious, immediately uninstall the program. People looking to start using ImgBurn can read this article to understand its installation processes and legitimacy.

Recommended Reading

How To Download Malware Samples From VirusTotal

VirusTotal updates Malware signatures frequently. Further, they distribute to antivirus companies to research them. It ensures we use the latest signature sets to scan malware. Website scanning is done by querying vendor databases keeping VirusTotal as a medium, and storing later. You can do it through API queries to an antivirus company’s solution. 

How to Download Malware Samples from VirusTotal

Virustotal is a free program that acts to detect samples that are attacked by malware or other viruses or have malicious content. Veterans established this program in 2004 to rescue computers and laptops from viruses and disturb the collaboration of the internet and its users. If you also have a question about how to download malware samples from VirusTotal, search VirusTotal dataset to download malware samples, including the URLs, domains, and IP addresses based on binary properties, static features, IP addresses, metadata, and many other notions. 

Study the pinpoint files similar to your suspected zones. Suppose I could match the samples of the criteria also downloaded for further study. Hence, to download the files, try on vt-py, which helps to use the new async/await syntax for implementing asynchronous coroutines. The recommendable option for downloading the syntax file is a pip. After installing the library, going to downlaod_search is apt for the download of malware samples from virus total. Downloading more than 500 files is possible via VirusTotal. 

Can I Download Malware Samples from VirusTotal? 

Yes, everyone can download malware samples from virus tools. As I download or inject VirusTotal tools into my laptop, it extracts suspicious signals. It can be OLE VBA code streams that work in Office document macros. Moreover, it can be invalid cross reference tables in PDFs and other documents like packer details in Windows Executables and many other properties. You can use the Loc properties to detect and hunt down the virus traffic in the network. On the other hand, advanced modifier tools and threat actor campaigns used for multi-property searches are fully mapped through pivotal searching.

Hence, understanding how malware files communicate is significant to finding the contents quickly. First, VirusTotal detonates files and traces their communications using virtual controlled environments. Based on that, VirusTotal makes detailed reports, including the URL lookups. After this, the execution activity performed by the VirusTotal is indexed in a faceted fashion for previous instantaneous lookups. 

Where Can I Download Malware Samples?

Go to the program Contagio Malware Dump: Curated, including this CAPE Sandbox, Das Malwerk, Hatching Triage, and Hybrid Analysis. Take primitive measures when accessing this malicious software and using it on my device. Many reputable companies asked me to provide malware samples they occasionally cannot identify. Many experts refer to these samples as PE files or binary. These files cause disturbances in creating ATP results or destroy the devices. 

How do I download a VirusTotal file?

Downloading a VirusTotal needs this endpoint similar to the get_files_downlaod URL, but this endpoint sometimes redirects to the download URL. But, I eventually used the URL several times to make it start within one hour of its establishment. After that, the URL expires. Else, people also use this endpoint that matches the Private API only. This endpoint is very crucial and helpful for downloading a file by sha256 hash.

A simple Microsoft Windows Desktop application helps me interact with the VirusTotal as easily as a right-click. Thus, downloading a VirusTotal file is very simple now and without infusing any technical background. Download the app to get started with VirusTotal. 

When I install the VirusTotal Uploader, sending the files to the source becomes much more manageable. For example, after I installed the uploader, I right-clicked on the files I wanted to upload and select the VirusTotal option from the Send To context menu. 

Go to the third-party uploader, which is Linux Uploader. This uploader makes use of Qt and acts as a cross-platform. Winja, Sigcheck, Process uploader, and Process Explorer are third-party uploaders. Using this uploader, scanning files becomes easy-

  • Drag and drop the files to scan them. 
  • Select the file from the file menu and drop it into the VirusTotal Uploader app for scanning. 

I hope this will help if you have a question, how do I download a VirusTotal file in a few minutes? So if anyone sees their laptop is hacked due to malware, use VirusTotal to detect the malware-oriented files and delete them immediately to secure your laptop. 

Does VirusTotal Detect Malware?

VirusTotal is a free program to end users to detect and scam malware that is massively used for non-commercial purposes. Though VirusTotal does not work with third-party vendors to scan the malware files, it acts as an aggregator. This unbiased program detects malware samples from the files or extensions that are the malware gateway to your computers. 

The aggregated dataset searched out by VirusTotal is the output of many antivirus engines, file, and URL analysis tools. The file and URL characterization tools have various purposes aggregated by the VirusTotal: heuristic engines, known-bad signatures, identification of malicious signals, etc.

After scanning malware, the reports are produced by VirusTotal, which it shares with the public VirusTotal community. The community members then pour their comments and underline whether the content still has malware. In this way, the user ultimately acknowledges the harmful contents and how they are VirusTotal by identifying false positives and answering the question, does VirusTotal detect malware?

Thus, those files are also shared with premium VirusTotal customers. In addition, VirusTotal provides qualified customers with tools to perform complex searches to identify and access harmful files to get research or a study. This way, many organizations develop new techniques to discover and analyze threats and defences.

Recommended Reading

How to Test Ransomware Protection

Internet is a vulnerable place, and one small mistake can cost someone a million. I am talking about malicious files, viruses, and ransomware attacks. They are taking the world by storm, especially the big brands. Another day, I came across websites that provide test kits for companies and individuals to test their machines’ weaknesses. Ransomware testing kit reviews ensure users get their hands on the products that do the work.

Let us now see how to test ransomware protection, how you can access it, and how to stimulate an attack.

Testing Ransomware Protection: How Can We Do It And How To Stimulate An Attack

What was not possible a few years back is possible now. Yes, organizations can purchase their ransomware kits and stimulate an attack on their devices and network. I recommend downloading the malware kits from trusted resources or the ones that Antivirus Research Organizations are devising. This is to check the vulnerable endpoints that can become potentially dangerous.

Like, I came across one ransomware testing kit another day devised by European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research. It was EICAR Test Virus, which, when tested on the user’s device, shows a message ‘EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE’ and terminates itself after this. It aims to test the virus in the user’s system and check how the device behaves when the ‘test ransomware’ attack is launched. You can download it from EICAR’s site.

Can You Stimulate A Ransomware Attack?

Is your network effective against ransomware attacks? Are your employees falling prey to social engineering skills? If yes, it is high time to stimulate a ransomware attack. Now, the question arises- can you stimulate a ransomware attack? The simple answer is YES.

The companies can now conduct penetration testing to induce a full-fledged demo attack on their network or devices. A few ransomware testing kits can also bypass the built-in ransomware protection in Windows OS. Penetration testing or Pen Testing must be conducted by professional security experts only. They are trained in ethical hacking and can induce a cyberattack following the ethical structure underlined using various certified tools. It will help detect security lapses in the company’s system and network.

How to Get the Free Ransomware Simulator Tool?

I have encountered this question umpteen times on my website and community forums. It has been put up by many working individuals who cannot access the paid ransomware testing kits. So, here I would like to share the breakthrough discovery. You can download the self-assessment tool provided by US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The Ransomware Readiness Assessment is a desktop tool that guides users through a synchronized process to test their cybersecurity. This is the new tool launched by the US esteemed agency. It helps the agencies know how to defend and recover from ransomware attacks. The best part is this tool can be used in Industrial Control systems and Information Technology to help analyze potential cyberattacks.

Apart from this, the users can quickly download the Ransomware Simulator tool from a website like KnowBe4 that simulates one crypto mining infection and 22 ransomware infections. It will show how vulnerable your system or device is. It works in the following ways:

  • 100% harmless simulation when KnowBe4 is launched on your network.
  • It will not work on the company’s or users’ important files.
  • The tool will help test 23 types of ransomware infections
  • You will get vulnerability results in a few minutes when you download and run the installer.

Does Windows 10 have Built-in Ransomware Protection?

As we are reading about Ransomware Protection, readers need to know that new Windows OS versions have defender security against malicious viruses. Reddit has many members who have asked a similar question: Does Windows 10 have built-in ransomware protection?

Well, if you go through the guidelines provided by Windows Support. It clearly states that Microsoft 365 advanced protection program helps with ransomware detection and recovery. A Controlled Access Folder in Windows 10 and Windows 11 that protects the user’s folder against ransomware and other kinds of malware. The new version of Windows includes built-in ransomware detection and recovery tool in the Microsoft OneDrive. Users can also use the all-new secured, and modern browser, namely Microsoft Edge.

Windows users can use the Controlled Folder Access that helps protect valuable and confidential data from ransomware threats. This Windows defender protects the device by checking the trusted apps that the users download. Windows 10 and 11 are supported on Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022. This Controlled Access can be turned on using the Windows Security App.

Controlled Folder Access in Windows 10 and 11 works best with the Microsoft Defender used for Endpoint access and provides a detailed report on alert investigation events and CFA events. Here’s how it works:

  • Controlled Folder Access includes local folders like pictures, documents, downloads, and many other things.
  • It only works with the trusted Windows apps, and other apps not included in the provided list cannot make any relevant changes.
  • The malicious apps are ultimately deleted from the list. Only the reputed and prevalent Windows apps are added to the list.
  • The users can add the apps to the trusted list manually. Users can also use Microsoft 365 Defender Portal to manage trusted apps. It helps in protecting the Windows System folder by default.

How Do I Access Ransomware Protection?

Until now, you all must be well versed in how to test ransomware protection or simulate an attack by cybercriminals. Now, this question may arise in the mind of many users How do I access Ransomware Protection? Well, I got every one of you covered on this one too.

Accessing the ransomware protection in the Windows 10 and 11 has become easier than in the older versions. Firstly, it has an in-built Windows Defender System, and another it offers Controlled Folder Access. The Ransomware Protection can be accessed in Windows 10 and above by following these steps:

Step 1: Click on the Start menu

Step 2: Type ‘Windows Security’ in the Search Bar. Alternatively, you can access it by clicking on the Settings app and then navigating to Update and Security. After this, click on Windows Security.

Step 3: Now, open Windows Security and click on Virus and Threat Protection.

Step 4: After this step, scroll to find Ransomware Protection. Click on ‘Manage Ransomware Protection’ now.

Step 5: Toggle the Controlled Folder Access ON, and enable it.

Step 6: Now, enable the OneDrive option by logging into it.

After you are done with these steps and configured the Controlled Folder Access, choose any of the malicious apps you want.

Can Antivirus Detect Ransomware?

Ransomware has become a trend in itself, as I have stated before in my articles about Ransomware attacks, its strains, and how fast it works. The question occurs can antivirus detect ransomware? Well, many paid antivirus users have also experienced ransomware attacks.

People need to understand that the antivirus is the software that runs the scan to know if a particular malware or virus has entered your device or network. It scans the whole system code to code that is in its database. Any antivirus can only detect ransomware if the particular strain code types reside in its database. Neither the antivirus users can become vulnerable and prone to attacks.

However, users can detect the ransomware and avoid its attack by checking the emails closely for upper- and lower-case letters. Also, review the tone of the email sent and see if it’s intimidating to any authentic institution, don’t click on doubtful links, and never open zipped files as they are encrypted ransomware folders.

You can consider these antivirus protection alternatives suggested, like Webroot, Zone Alarm, Bitdefender, NeuShield, etc.

Is there any way to Test if Your Network is Protected From Ransomware

This question is also making the rounds on some community sites. Most companies are now aware of the ransomware threats, so they do regular backups, patch tests, and strengthen their network by not allowing a few websites access and personal devices connection to the organization’s network.

In this scenario, conducting a dummy test may not help you find vulnerabilities. Still, the companies or individuals can select some local folders on their systems and induce the dummy ransomware attack through those folders. It will help you acknowledge whether the overall network is strong or still there are a few vulnerabilities. It will help pat the whole system again and save the devices connected to one network from any potential threat.

Organizations and individual users can always use KnowBe4 Ransomware Simulator or the assessment tool provided by US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. These things can help launch a dummy attack and safeguard from threats. Make sure to always offer security training to employees.

Recommended Reading

How to Remove XINOF Ransomware

If you’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of falling victim to XINOF ransomware, you’re probably desperately searching online for a guide on how to remove XINOF ransomware; This is that guide. In this guide, you’ll find a detailed description of XINOF ransomware, why you don’t need to panic if you fall victim to it, and — most importantly — how to remove it. It’s also critical that you don’t give in to the demands of whoever has infected your PC; read through this guide carefully and thoroughly before implementing the steps outlined below. 

What is XINOF Ransomware?

XINOF Ransomware is a type of Fonix Ransomware software first discovered by dnwls0719 — an anonymous self-proclaimed “ransomware hunter. ” They provide regular updates about how to decrypt ransomware from their Twitter account.

When a file on your PC becomes compromised using XINOF malware, the new file extension will look something like this: original file name + cyber attacker’s email address + unique ID + .XINOF file extension.

Any files on your device with a similar extension have been encrypted using XINOF, and you won’t be able to access the data or information in these files unless you follow through on the cyber attacker’s demands.

Typically, you’ll receive instructions on what to do next through a “howtodecryptfiles.hta” pop-up, or when clicking on the encrypted file, a help.txt document will appear.

The instructions usually include emailing the cyber attacker within 48 hours and paying an undisclosed amount through the typically untraceable cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The exact ransom message may differ. You could be given up to 72 hours or a different price to decrypt your files.

But, as you’ve probably already assumed — if you’re thinking rationally — the ransomware criminals have no reason to decrypt your files after you’ve sent the ransom. So before you attempt to follow through on their demands, continue reading to learn how to remove XINOF ransomware from your PC.

How to Remove XINOF Ransomware

If you’ve fallen victim to XINOF ransomware, don’t panic. Many ransomware messages contain threats that you’d have to pay double if you don’t make contact or pay within the first few hours. Cybercriminals typically use a 24 or 48-hour countdown to prompt victims to act.

However, many have speculated that hackers using XINOF ransomware have no way of knowing when your PC was infected, making these countdowns redundant. The same applies to threats of paying more if you don’t act quickly.

Think about it. If there is a likelihood that your data will be destroyed after the time frame, paying the ransom doesn’t protect you from that possibility.

Instead, many hackers don’t send the encryption key in the hopes of getting victims to pay more money. Now that you’re aware, you should look into a ransomware decryption tool.

Ransomware Decryption Tool

When XINOF ransomware became active in June 2020, it became one of the most prevalent forms of ransomware. One reason it had become so prevalent was because of its efficacy in getting the creators of the ransomware money.

XINOF ransomware was built using C++ and used three encryption keys, making it challenging to decrypt, given it was essentially iron clad. 

But, in the eight months since XINOF launched and earned its developers lots of money, an admin for XINOF announced the team was shutting down the ransomware in February 2021.

As a result, the admin released a decryptor tool and master decryption key to helping victims decrypt their documents.

But the decryptor tool the admin released only works to decrypt one file at a time and is the tool used by admins when you’re prompted to send three files as a test. Because you can only decrypt one file at a time, this ransomware decryption tool is of little value. Thankfully, Avast has built a ransomware decryption tool you can use to decrypt your XINOF files for free. You can access this decryption tool by following the steps below: 

Visit Avast’s List of Ransomware Tools

To access the XINOF ransomware decryption tool, visit Avast’s ransomware list. 

Select Fonix.

On the list, scroll down to Fonix — the program XINOF uses to encrypt your files.

Download the Fonix Decryption Tool

Beneath Fonix, you can download the free ransomware decryption tool by clicking on the “Download Fonix Fix” button.

How to Get Rid of Ransomware Without Paying

The first two steps in this process are preventative and meant to stop ransomware from spreading. Typically, it takes ransomware five minutes to encrypt 100,000 files. Therefore, the quicker you implement the first two steps, the less effect ransomware will have on your device.

  • Turn Off Wifi and Put the Device on Airplane Mode

The moment you realize you’ve downloaded an infected file or your device has been compromised by some other means, you must disconnect from the internet as soon as possible. This means turning off your wifi, disconnecting any ethernet cables, turning off Bluetooth, and then turning on airplane mode.

This should stop the ransomware from spreading and may even help you further along as you may have time to save some of your files or — best case scenario — stop the ransomware from becoming effective.

The important thing here is speed. Ensure you’ve quickly disconnected from the internet and turned on airplane mode in under one minute, as ransomware can encrypt hundreds of thousands of files in as little as five minutes and typically targets the most important files first.

  • Disconnect all External Devices 

Now, unplug any external device: a phone, webcam, USB, or hard drive. Ransomware is fast acting, so you should ensure everything that could get infected isn’t connected to your device.

  • Run an Antivirus to Find and Remove the Ransomware

Once you are confident you’ve isolated your device, run your antivirus software — specifically a virus scan. Your antivirus software should be able to pinpoint the file containing the ransomware. Delete this file.

  • Use a Decryption Tool on Affected Files

With XINOF ransomware, thankfully, you have a ransomware decryption tool. If you haven’t already, download Fonix Fix from another PC and send it to your device. If you’re confident the ransomware has been removed from your PC, you can do it from there. Now, run the affected files through the ransomware decryption tool.

How to Remove Encryption Ransomware

If you don’t have an antivirus or your antivirus isn’t picking up the ransomware, you may be unable to carry out the above steps. This doesn’t mean you can’t remove the ransomware; rather, it means you’ll have to follow a different process to remove the ransomware and gain access to your files. The steps below will work on Windows devices.

Step 1: Disconnect from the Internet

Whenever you need to remove ransomware from a PC, your first step will always be to disconnect from the internet. Ransomware needs to communicate with its command and control servers to be effective. Disconnecting it from the internet stops the ransomware from spreading.

Step 2: Check Your Host File (on Windows)

Go to the start menu, find Notepad, and right-click it to run as administrator. When prompted about whether you are sure you want to run Notepad as an administrator, select “yes.”

In Notepad, navigate to “File” and then “Open.”

Select “This PC,” followed by your system drive “Windows (C:).” Now, navigate to a file titled “Windows,” click it, and navigate to a file titled “System 32.” Once in System 32, select “Drivers,” followed by “etc.”

Your screen may be blank at this point. If that’s the case, go to the drop-down menu next to “File name” and select “All Files.”

Select the “hosts” file to open it.

If there is any text beyond the system’s last line, which is: “# ::1 local host,” which you didn’t add, delete it and save the file.

Step 3: Reboot Your PC in Safe Mode

In safe mode, your PC only runs essential system programs, meaning the ransomware won’t run in safe mode.

To run your PC in safe mode, select the windows key on your keyboard and the letter “r” simultaneously. A window will appear, type in “MSConfig,” and then press “enter.” 

Select the boot tab at the top of the window, followed by “Safe boot” in the multiple-choice section. Then select “apply” and “restart.”

Your PC will restart, running in safe mode.

Step 4: Manually Remove the Ransomware

If you know the name of the ransomware, in this case, XINOF or Fonix, search for it in the search bar of your PC’s file explorer. Search XINOF.exe

Press the shift key followed by delete to permanently delete the files that appeared. Also, search and permanently delete the following files:

  • %User Temp%\IXP000.TMP\SystemScheduler.exe
  • %User Temp%\IXP000.TMP\Cpriv.key
  • %User Temp%\IXP000.TMP\Cpub.key
  • %User Temp%\IXP000.TMP\SystemID
  • %User Temp%\IXP000.TMP\Help.txt
  • %User Temp%\Cpriv.key
  • %User Temp%\Cpub.key
  • %ProgramData%\Cpriv.key
  • %ProgramData%\Cpub.key
  • %ProgramData%\CrptSrvcFLG
  • %ProgramData%\SystemID
  • %ProgramData%\Help.txt
  • %ProgramData%\Hello {Name}
  • %ProgramData%\How To Decrypt Files.hta
  • %User Startup%\XINOF.exe
  • {Encrypted Directory}\Cpriv.key
  • {Encrypted Directory}\Help.txt
  • {Encrypted Directory}\How To Decrypt Files.hta

These are other files the ransomware will drop into your system. 

Note: When searching for these files, be sure you’ve also selected hidden files.

Step 5: Prevent Ransomware from Running at Start-Up

If any ransomware remains, this step will be essential. 

Navigate to the start menu and type in “startup apps.” Click on the app that appears to get a list of startup apps that run when you turn on your PC. Turn off startup for all non-essential apps, including foreign apps.

Step 6: Remove Suspicious Apps

Ransomware typically enters your device through a vulnerability — in this case, a suspicious/malicious app.

Once again, navigate to your start menu and search for “control panel,” click on it to open, and then navigate to “uninstall a program” beneath “Programs.”

A list of programs installed on your PC will appear. Navigate to the date programs were installed to sort by most recent. Select suspicious or potentially malicious programs, followed by uninstall.

Step 7: Clear Your PC’s Temporary Files

Despite completing all these steps, ransomware can linger in one additional space: your temporary files.

Navigate to the start menu, enter “disk cleanup,” and click on it. After the program’s run, it should list all the documents you can clear. Only select “Internet Files” and “Temporary Files” followed by OK and delete files.

Step 8: Clean Your PC’s Registry

To resurface, ransomware may infect your device’s registry. But cleaning your registry requires care and attention, as one wrong move could break your PC.

If you’re uncomfortable with that possibility, contact a professional or use a registry cleaning tool; otherwise, follow the steps below.

First, navigate to the start menu, search “registry editor,” and open it.

Back up the registry by selecting the file menu and export; follow this up by choosing a location for the file and naming the backup.

In the registry, go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE —> SOFTWARE —> Microsoft —> Windows —> Current Version —> Run

Now delete any files titled “Fonix” or “XINOF.”

Beneath the “Run” folder should be the “Run Once” folder. Select it and delete files titled Fonix or XINOF.

Then complete a similar process but using HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE —> SOFTWARE —> Microsoft —> Windows —> Current Version —> Run

Now delete any files titled “Fonix” or “XINOF.”

Beneath the “Run” folder should be the “Run Once” folder. Select it and delete files titled Fonix or XINOF.

Step 9: Restart Your PC

Select the windows key and “r” letter on your keyboard. Enter “MSConfig” and navigate to the “Boot” tab on the pop-up and deselect “Safe boot.” Now restart your PC.

If you can, download and run a reputable anti-malware software to double-check that all malware is removed from your PC.

How to Encrypt Ransomware

Don’t think you’re safe from ransomware attacks because you’ve already encrypted your files. If your files are encrypted, it provides an additional layer of security by preventing cyber criminals from obtaining pertinent information. But it doesn’t stop them from blocking your access to these documents.

Can You Delete Ransomware Encrypted Files?

In short, you can delete ransomware encrypted files, but that doesn’t mean you’ve rid your device of ransomware.

Ransomware often exploits the system’s software to embed itself onto your device and spread even if you think you’ve rid yourself of the problem. It does that by adding itself to your operating system’s software code, running at startup, and exploiting your web browser.

Therefore, before deleting the files, be sure you’ve removed the ransomware.

Is There Any Way to Decrypt Ransomware?

Yes. You can decrypt most ransomware without spending money on a ransom. But, it’s important that you research the type of ransomware that’s infected your device.

Then, you can decide whether to manually decrypt the ransomware or use anti-malware.

How Do You Remove Encryption?

Technically, there are only two ways to remove decryption, they are:

  • Using a decryption key 
  • Exploiting cracks in the program 

When an anti-malware or antivirus removes encryption, it is either doing one of these two.

In the case of XINOF ransomware, the program’s admin released a master decryption key that would decrypt every file that was encrypted by XINOF. However, in cases where the program’s developers haven’t released a decryption key, like any other program, there are often “bugs” or exploits that — if you have the skill and knowledge — you can use to create a ransomware decryption tool. Alternatively, you can use a free ransomware decryption tool to decrypt the ransomware you have.

Can Ransomware Be Removed by Resetting?

To a degree, yes. Ransomware can be removed by resetting your device — to its factory settings — if the ransomware attack is limited to files. However, if the ransomware has affected your operating system, you can attempt a factory reset, which doesn’t guarantee the ransomware will be removed.

Furthermore, if it has affected your operating system, you must recover your files from the cloud rather than a USB connection. The latter can be compromised and infected by ransomware.

Can You Decrypt a Ransomware Attack?

Yes, you can decrypt a ransomware attack. The best method would be to use a reputable anti-malware or antivirus program to identify and clear your device. However, if you know what type of anti-malware has infected your device — and you don’t mind the possibility of losing your files — you can decrypt your files manually. In this aspect, you will use a complex list of steps that includes identifying the ransomware, checking your system’s host files, booting your PC in safe mode, and updating your system’s registry, among other things.

Is it Possible to Unlock Ransomware?

Yes. In 2021, one admin account for the XINOF ransomware announced the cybercriminals were ending the operation and released the master decryption key. Now, using a free ransomware decryption tool, you can remove the encryption from affected files and restore them to normal.

Can I Decrypt Online ID Ransomware?

You cannot decrypt your files using an online ID ransomware tool. Instead, an online ID ransomware tool’s sole purpose is to help you identify the ransomware that has infected your device.

Part of the identification process is uploading a ransom note, a file that has been encrypted by the ransomware, and the email address of the cyber attackers. Once you upload this information, the online ID will scan the 1078 ransomware programs on its database.

If it doesn’t detect any matches, that doesn’t mean it’s not ransomware that’s infected your device; rather, it means they haven’t cataloged the ransomware that’s affected your device.

But, you may be wondering why online ID ransomware is necessary if it doesn’t decrypt your files. Well, the purpose is to help you isolate the ransomware attack you’re experiencing so you can remove it from your device.

Is Lorenz Ransom a Free Ransomware Decryption Tool?

No. Lorenz Ransom is a type of ransomware much like XINOF. However, Lorenz primarily targets enterprises, downloading unencrypted files and selling or distributing those to threat attackers on the internet. But, before Lorenz sells a company’s data, it releases the company’s information to blackmail the organization to get them to pay the ransom to ensure files are returned and not sold online.

If the company doesn’t pay the ransom on time, Lorenz publishes RAR archives, which hackers could attempt to decrypt. When final ransom demands aren’t met, the Lorenz team publishes the password for the leaked data so anyone can find and access the data stolen.

Despite it being ransomware, Lorenz Ransom doesn’t leave documents on your device. Instead, as a human-operated ransomware attack, its operators remove unencrypted files from your servers and transfer them to their servers.

Getting rid of Lorenz Ransom isn’t as clear-cut as XINOF because of the threat that sensitive may be sold to threats or — even more sinister — access to the infiltrated network may be sold.

Furthermore, Lorenz Ransom is more sophisticated than XINOF because its developers customize each attack for its target company or organization.

To avoid ransomware’s devastating effects, your best choice is to be safe rather than sorry. Encrypt your files and save them to the cloud. Use several secure cloud services to back up your backups. That way, you can’t be held hostage if your files are encrypted using ransomware.

Recommended Reading

Can Android Get Malware From Websites?

Eighty-four percent of the world has smartphones, making the world more connected than ever before. The result is that most of us are online more than we’d like to admit. Of course, that often means using apps like WhatsApp or Instagram. But, since we use our phones for everything, that also means going on websites a fair bit, whether to read the news or for entertainment.

And while you may be wary about the websites you’re visiting when using your PC, that same restraint typically doesn’t extend to your phone, as it has so many security features, and many of us believe phones aren’t susceptible to viruses. But, as more phones are getting attacked, that myth is quickly being debunked. So far, nearly 3.5 million malicious programs have been developed specifically for phones.

How Do I Check for Malware on my Android?

Since hackers have recognized that smartphones are a treasure trove of valuable information — typically, you’ll have your banking app, passwords, and personal information saved on the device — they’ve started targeting phones as much, if not more, than PCs. Now, one in five phones likely contains or has contained malware. 

It’s figures like these that mean you could already have malware on your Android phone. If you suspect you have malware on your phone, this is what you can do to check for malware on your Android.

Determine if Your Phone is Portraying Common Tell-Tale Virus Signs

Similarly to PCs, Android phones have certain telltale signs that they’ve been infected. You can check if your Android phone has malware by identifying if it’s struggling with the eight common signs associated with malware on phones. Your phone doesn’t need to meet all the signs to have malware; having one or two signs should confirm that your Android phone has malware.

Unfamiliar Charges on Your Phone BillKeep a watchful eye on your phone charges as unfamiliar — and frequent — charges are a common telltale sign that your phone has malware on it. Typically this malware will sign you up for various subscriptions on other apps.

These will often be micro charges, allowing them to fly under your radar.

  • Slow or Poor Performance

Most Android phones are built to last for some time, especially phones with significant RAM. This means that even when your phone’s storage is low, your phone shouldn’t be slow. This isn’t the case when you have malware because it could be using storage to run in the background. If that’s the case, your phone’s performance will begin to decline. Apps crashing and your phone overheating are also common signs.

  • New Apps Appearing on Your Phone

When your Android phone is compromised with malware, it can override any security features that prevent your phone from downloading other apps.

If you’re wondering why malware would do this, the purpose is often to inflate the Google Play download stats of the other apps it’s downloading, making them appear legitimate.

These apps could then have adware or spyware, adding to the amount of malware on your phone.

  • Unreasonable Data Consumption

Often when malware is on your Android phone, it will use data to execute its nefarious intentions. This occurs in the background preventing you from noticing it. But, if you realize your mobile data is going quickly, malware could be the reason.

  • Your Contacts Are Receiving Spam Messages

Malware can also take over your contact list and messages and start spamming your contacts. The purpose of sending these spam messages is often to get the malware on more phones. Most often, these messages will be sent from your number — leading to higher charges.

  • You’re Receiving Spam Messages

But receiving spam isn’t only limited to those on your contact list. You can also fall victim to spam messages as the malware could be signing you up for various subscriptions, or it could share your details with unscrupulous characters. Any uptick in spam messages is sufficient proof you have malware on your Android phone.

  • Constant Ads

Also known as adware, malware can infiltrate your phone and start flashing ads on other apps. It can also change your phone’s browser’s home page and download apps for the purpose of showing more apps.

Adware is also the most common type of malware on Androids, accounting for 50 percent of all malware on Android phones.

  • Your Battery is Losing Power Quickly

When apps — that often are undetectable — start running in the background or running plenty of ads, they drain the battery quickly. 

Therefore, if it’s taking your phone a few hours to go from a full charge to needing to charge, you may have malware.

Use an App to Scan Your Device

If you’ve been dealing with issues on your Android phone for some time, it may be hard pinpointing one concern that points to having malware on your Android phone.

If this is the case, you can opt for scanning your phone with this two-step process.

  • Install a Reputable Antivirus App 

Start by using a reputable antivirus, preferably one that is verified on the Play Store. 

Most antivirus apps will include a free version that allows you to scan your device for malware. However, premium options usually provide a more thorough scan of your Android phone.

  • Run the App

Once you have the app on your phone, navigate to the scanning feature located in the app. It should only take a minute or two for you to find the apps containing malware or the malware on your phone.

This isn’t a foolproof method as dozens of new threats are being developed every day, meaning that you may still have malware on your phone.

So, even if your antivirus says you don’t have a virus or malware, keep close attention to your phone to determine if it has telltale signs that it has a virus. You can try comparing your battery life or performance to others with the same phone as yours or go a few hours without using your phone but still keep your mobile data on to see if your phone is still using data even when you’re not actively online.

Can Your Phone Get Infected by Visiting a Website?

It’s common knowledge that downloading apps from websites that aren’t Google Play can lead to your phone getting infected with malware. But, you probably don’t know that your phone can get infected by visiting a website.

Websites don’t work like apps that you download. Instead, your phone can get infected by clicking on a foreign link that initiates the download of a virus, but you can also get malware without clicking on a link. If the website is compromised or contains malware, it can look for exploits in your Android phone’s operating system, a web browser, or a vulnerable app to install malicious code.

Can You Get Malware by Visiting a Website?

Yes. Some websites are compromised or built to spread malware. 

If you visit a website like this with your Android phone, you can get malware by visiting a website.

Can Samsung Phones Get Viruses From Websites?

Although Samsung phones are known for their safety, they are still vulnerable to attacks, especially if you’re not careful when visiting websites.

If you’re not downloading foreign apps on your Samsung phone, clicking suspicious, or opening random files, the only way you’ll get a virus on your Samsung phone is by visiting a website with malware on it. Specifically, websites that use drive-by downloads to infect your phone. 

If your Samsung phone doesn’t have the latest updates, it’s easier for these websites to install malware on your phone.

How Does Malware Infect Phones?

There are only a few ways your Android phone can get malware. Of course, you can get malware on your phone by connecting it to an infected device, but most malware that infects your phone will infiltrate it through one of the four methods listed below.

Drive-by Downloads

Drive-by downloads infect your Android phone when you visit a malicious website. These websites exploit vulnerabilities within your operating system, web browsers, or installed apps to attach malicious code to these that then connect to another PC that downloads the rest.

Dangerous Links

Clicking on a suspicious or malicious link can initiate a drive-by download or virus download on your phone.

Apps Containing Malware

Just because an app is on the Play Store doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain malware. Researchers have discovered at least 35 “clearly malicious” apps on Google Play, but there are potentially hundreds of others with malware contained in their code.

What’s most surprising is that many of these apps have millions of downloads and plenty of fake reviews singing the apps’ praises, making them difficult to spot.

Downloading one of these malware-infested apps, you’ll get malware on your phone.

Unsecure Wifi Connections

Unsecure wifi connections can make your phone susceptible to malware as your phone can is linked to the network. Those on the network, or the network itself, can exploit vulnerabilities on your phone to install backdoors — a type of malware that allows a third party to gain remote access to your phone. 

What Does Malware Do to Your Phone?

It depends on the type of malware you’ve downloaded. But, most often, the malware installed on your phone is either adware, spyware, crypto mining malware, or bank Trojans.


We briefly touched on this before, but adware inserts ads on almost every app on your phone. Its purpose is to earn those who use adware money by displaying ads. These ads are also more likely to be targeted as the adware steals personal information, browsing history, and app history to display relevant ads.


Spyware is a bit more malicious than adware as it gives third-party access to your camera, microphone, location data, and files, allowing them to spy on you without your knowledge.

Cryptomining Malware

For cryptocurrency transactions to be viable, they need nodes or mining rigs to validate these transactions. Disguised as legitimate apps, a crypto mining trojan will use your phone to mine for a specific cryptocurrency, often using a lot of data and causing your phone to overheat because it’s a data-intensive function.

Bank Trojans

A bank Trojan disguises itself as a legitimate app, but its purpose is to steal banking information from users who conduct banking business — think money transfers, bill payments, and managing investments or stocks — from their phones. This malware wants to steal bank login credentials to steal money from your accounts.

You can save your phone and sanity by keeping apps and your OS up-to-date, avoiding clicking on suspicious links, linking to every free wifi you can find, and downloading files. Of course, you should also consider getting reputable antivirus on your phone. Antivirus will protect your phone from more sophisticated attacks and give you peace of mind that opening a file on WhatsApp or email won’t lead to your phone being infected.

Recommended Reading

Can Malware Work Without Internet

Cybersecurity isn’t limited to major corporations. Anyone who uses the internet needs to be aware of security risks. But what if you go offline? Are you still at risk of ransomware attacks? Can your personal information be stolen or your device damaged when you’re offline? 

There’s lots of confusion about the efficacy of malware when you’re not connected to the internet. Most of us want to know whether malware works without internet access and, if it works, how is this possible?

Does Malware Work Without Internet?

Yes. Malware works without internet access. Many people believe that if they disconnect from wifi or turn off mobile data, they’re safe from what’s powering malware — the internet. But the internet doesn’t power malware. And contrary to popular thinking, most malware is developed to work without the internet.

Going offline, however, can help dampen the efficacy of malware. 

For example, for malware to transmit your data to a nefarious source, it needs to have internet.

So, while you may have malware on your device, it won’t be as dangerous if you never go online because your information can’t be transmitted. 

But, internet access isn’t the only way to transfer data. Hackers may require more effort, but your data can still be transferred over short distances via Bluetooth. 

Can You Get Malware Without Internet?

Malware isn’t only transmitted through the internet. That’s because malware is an umbrella term that includes viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, Trojans, worms, rootkits, bots, and keyloggers. Therefore, whether it works will depend on the type of malware program.


A virus is a self-replicating malware that requires a user to take some type of action that activates it. Once on the device, it attaches itself to various programs and destroys data.

Verdict: A virus can infect your device without internet access.


Ransomware is a type of software that encrypts your data and blocks access to it until you pay a ransom.

Verdict: Ransomware can be downloaded without internet access.


Spyware invades your device in an attempt to steal data like your banking data, passwords, and other sensitive information. It can also access your webcam and microphone.

Verdict: Spyware does not work without internet access.


Collects personal data to show you personalized on your screen.

Verdict: Adware does not work without internet access.


A Trojan horse disguises itself as legitimate software in an attempt to get you to download malicious software onto your device.

Verdict: You can get a Trojan without accessing the internet, but it will likely be through a USB, CD, or other connection.


A worm infects multiple devices on the same network by replicating itself, consuming bandwidth, and interrupting the network.

Verdict: A worm does not spread without internet access.


Rootkits give third parties access to your files and data without you recognizing it.

Verdict: A rootkit cannot work without internet access.


Bots are developed to perform repeatable functions. When they infiltrate a computer, they multiply, often turning the device into a zombie able to be controlled remotely through the main console.

Verdict: Bots don’t work without internet access.


A keylogger tracks and transmits your keystrokes to give an unauthorized third-party access to your accounts with login credentials gathered through logging your keystrokes.

Verdict: Keyloggers don’t work without internet access.

Can Ransomware Work Without Internet?

Unfortunately, yes.

If you haven’t already experienced ransomware, you’ve probably heard of someone who has had their life — and finances — wrecked by ransomware.

Ransomware is extremely pervasive because it encrypts your data, locking you out, and then gives specific instructions on how to recover the data.

All of this — the encryption, lockout, and instructions — can be done without an internet connection. This is known as offline ransomware, and the scripts used to infiltrate your device are sold to ordinary individuals on the dark web.

In most cases, to regain access to your data by performing the instructions, you’ll need access to the internet.

However, it’s easier to avoid getting ransomware on your device without internet access as you’ll have to DO something to fall victim. 

For example, you’d have to plug a USB into your device for the ransomware to activate. 

Of course, if your device was once connected to the internet and downloaded a file, if that file contains ransomware and you open it — whether or not you’re connected to the internet — the ransomware can still take hold.

Does Malware Use Internet?

Yes and No. 

Malware can be transmitted and efficacious without internet access. But certain types of malware need the internet to be transmitted and efficacious.


Viruses, trojans, and, in some cases, even ransomware can be transmitted without internet access. But, they’ll require you to act, whether that means inserting a USB into your device or opening a suspicious file. They don’t need the internet to work. This is also why most people know about these types of cyber threats because they have been wreaking havoc on computers long before internet access became the norm.


For malware that requires a third party to get remote access to your device, disconnecting from the internet blocks the efficacy of such apps, essentially preventing your device from being accessed remotely.

Can Malware Work When Computer is Off?

If your computer is powered off, malware can’t be transmitted or efficacious. But your PC should be off and not sleeping for that to be true.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like most things that have to do with malware.

If malware has invaded your PC to an extent where your operating system is doing its bidding, then it can use an “automatic wake-up” setting that exists on Windows 10 to turn your PC on and continue operating.

But the likelihood of that happening, especially since more PCs are equipped with basic security features.

Keeping yourself safe online is far more challenging than before, as there are threats everywhere.

Unfortunately, those threats don’t vanish when you go offline.

Yes, you can stop spyware or adware from being effective by disconnecting from the wifi or turning off mobile data, but once you reconnect to the internet, the malware, like other apps that require internet, is back online.

Recommended Reading

Can You Get a Virus Without Downloading Anything

While malware and viruses are pervasive — it’s estimated there are more than a billion malware programs in existence — for the average tech user, understanding this threat is more complicated than ever. Then, you also have to contend with plenty of outdated information which doesn’t consider how far malware programs have come in the last few years. Thankfully, this post will provide updated information about malware, allowing you to protect your devices and your personal data from malware.

Can I Get a Virus by Just Visiting a Website?

Most savvy internet users believe staying safe online means following four rules about staying safe online:

  • Don’t click on unknown links, 
  • Don’t visit suspicious websites, 
  • Don’t download unknown documents
  • Don’t download suspicious attachments

But, you may still have one question: Can I get a virus from visiting a website?

The short answer is yes. You can get a virus from visiting a website. 

Firstly, you need to understand that a virus – macro virus, polymorphic virus, and file infector — are all types of malware. You may not get a “virus” from a website, but your device may get infected by malware when you visit a website. Here’s how that could happen.

Malware Changes the Code

Making a distinction between a virus and malware is critical because viruses typically require active participation: downloading a file, inserting a USB, or anything that requires YOU to take action.

But malware doesn’t require you to do anything. You can be a passive browser and fall victim to malware. The reason for this is that hackers typically change the code. That way, the website is infected and — as a result — serves as an access point from your device to malware.

Code Execution Exploits Vulnerabilities

Code execution exploits are a commonly used toolset to infect unsuspecting users’ devices.

In such an attack, a hacker exploits the code of vulnerable websites and browsers in addition to plug-ins, like JavaScript and Flash players, to insert their malicious code. Then, when you visit these websites, you’re exposed to malicious scripts.

Code execution exploits are common because they’re sold through easy-to-use exploit kits. These exploit kits sell on the dark web to buyers who can install the kit and use it wherever they see fit.

Exploit kits are easy to use because they follow a set of instructions that enable them to infiltrate a web user’s device, deliver its payload, and deposit a remote access tool or RAT on your device.

The result is the ability to steal user information, take over devices, or send — stolen — information to other devices.

But what’s most concerning about code execution exploits is that they can attach malware to advertising networks — that distribute ads to otherwise safe and legitimate websites. When you access websites with these ads, you’re vulnerable to the malware on the ads displayed on the site. 

Man in the Middle Attacks

Another way you can unknowingly download malware by visiting a website is through a man-in-the-middle attack or MITM. In this method, which requires more prowess to execute, a hacker intercepts traffic between the user and the web application. The attacker can either spoof the website you think you’re visiting, which allows it to eavesdrop, or direct data transfer, between you and the site you’re visiting by pretending to be the website or creating a tunnel you pass through before reaching the website.

But, unlike code execution exploits, man-in-the-middle attacks typically require you to take careless or unwitting actions, like accessing free public wifi and not entering the browser URL when you’re visiting the website.

Can You Get Malware Without Internet?

Unfortunately, as the emphasis is placed on internet safety, traditional digital safety is ignored. Because threats aren’t limited to your access to the internet. 

Your device can get malware without going online or connecting to the internet. But, unlike online threats, offline threats are limited to taking action. To get malware offline, you need to connect your device to another device and vice versa. That means a modem, USB, CD, another computer, or phone can all be entry points for malware.

Essentially, if you can transfer data from it, you can transfer malware from it.

How Do I Know if I Have Malware Before Downloading?

By now, you’re wary of anything you can access online and want to know how to protect yourself, your device, and, most importantly, your information from malicious actors. You may want to ascertain how to determine if files or websites have malware before downloading or accessing them.

Check a File for Malware Before Downloading

You can scan a file for malware before downloading it in two easy steps and less than one minute. 

Copy Link Address

Start by right-clicking the file you want to download and select “copy link address” on Chrome, “copy link location” on Firefox, or “copy link” on Edge.

This will work regardless if the file or link is hyperlinked.

Use a Service Like VirusTotal to Check URL

Once you have the files link, head to VirusTotal — an app owned by Google since 2012 — to scan the file.

Select the URL tab and paste the URL you copied. Either click search or enter to initiate the scan.

The file will be downloaded to VirusTotal’s servers and then scanned with a significant number of antivirus engines. However, if someone else has recently scanned the file, VirusTotal will show you these results.

If “No engines detected this URL” appears, that means the antivirus engines TotalVirus has run the file through haven’t detected any malware. It could also say 0/65 engines detected malware. However, these antivirus engines scan for known and prevalent threats. Every day tens of thousands of malware programs are being invented.

In some cases, you may get a result showing under ten engines had an issue with the file. This could be a false positive, or it may be that some of the antivirus engines have updated their databases and are already aware of emerging threats. In such instances, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to take the risk.

You can take every precaution online to avoid falling victim to malware, but even that may not be enough. Instead, your best course of action is to tread cautiously and frequently change your login and security credentials. 

But you can also save yourself a world of hurt by installing an adblocker and typing in website addresses rather than using bookmarks, as these can be spoofed. Furthermore, by following the steps above, you can ensure you don’t fall victim to malware downloaded through a file.

Recommended Reading

Difference Between Malware And Adware

Adware programs are a variant of malware that persistently displays marketing information as pop-ups to users, enticing them to follow or click a link and install malicious applications. Adware is created to raise revenue for developers by hosting advertisements but can also be manipulated into a more dangerous malware.

What is malware?

Malware, shortened from the terminology “Malicious software,” is a broad terminology used to refer to a variety of software, destructive files, program, or code designed to compromise or damage a computing resource (device, application, service, protocol, or user). This depends on the medium of execution and the intended purpose. This adversely impacts an authority’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Common malware variants are viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, rootkits, worm, or Trojan horse. 

How does malware spread? 

Malware requires an attack vector to deliver it to the target resource. Viruses propagate by attaching their code onto removable media, files, or attachments. User interaction, like clicking to execute them, is needed. Email is another vector that delivers malware to unsuspecting individuals as phishing attempts. It can also be sent to targeted individuals and organizations in a tailored attack known as spear phishing. Worms self-propagates over the network using bandwidth. Spyware and adware programs are stealthily installed onto a device without user consent or knowledge during another installation.    

Ever wondered why people sit down and create malware? 

Many reasons exist for creating malware. To start, there is money in distributing malware as a service! Another instance is the money realized from ransom; this is a fee paid when ransomware is deployed and encrypts a target’s files on a device, rendering it unavailable for use. However, paying a ransom is not a guarantee that access will be restored. 

Malware is also used as a weapon of war among countries and is referred to as cyberwarfare. It alludes to the fact that malware is cheap to acquire, deploy and re-use with little effort and expense. It also requires less manpower to deploy than the military! National resources commonly targeted for destruction include nuclear resources, electricity, and oil pipeline distribution systems. Examples on the internet can be cited in the Stuxnet malware, which was deployed and physically destroyed the Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz. Cyber-warfare leaves little or no human casualties compared to civil war. Attributing the attack to any known attackers is difficult and easy to deploy.

Malware is also used to gain unauthorized access to resources like databases and steal key information, company secrets, and money. Stolen data is used to create fake accounts used in swindling money. Malware can be used to force a target to change a stand on a political or religious ideology through hacktivism. This method works by redirecting massive traffic to a target resource rendering it unavailable (aka a denial of service attack).

Wondering where malware comes from? Guess no more. 

Malware attacks can be targeted or accidental. Common sources of malware come from files and applications downloaded from the internet and email. Some applications disguise themselves as legit software like antivirus applications. They, however, have malicious links embedded or checked to download and install alongside them. These are known as drive-by downloads. 

Other sources of malware are legit applications compromised at the time of release due to the presence of a vulnerability. These are known as zero-day attacks. Hackers inject malware into application code used to update databases. If used without proper validation of inputs, malware compromises the database. 

Removable devices are used across devices and are a common source of malware. Common games and videos shared on instant messaging apps are known to be embedded with malware that infects too. File sharing applications are another common network source of malware that propagates in the form of media. A key example occurred to the CEO of Amazon, who was compromised via a social media malware attack. 

Indicators of the presence of malware on systems include corruption and deletion of data, files, applications, destruction of hardware, denial of service of authority, and poor performance resulting from slowed-down operations of resources.    

Elements of modern malware

Malware today has outstanding characteristics that are indicated in the level of cyber-attacks experienced today. People use technological advances, and the processes involved have contributed significantly to advancements in modern malware. This makes it difficult – cyber

attackers are equally skilled as the defenders. 

The key characteristic is the ability for malicious code to morph or change itself from one format to another to evade detection by antimalware signatures. They also can detect the environment in which they are and conduct their creator for an update to regain full functionality as an exploit. Another behavior is the ability to maintain a footprint on a target by hiding many elements of its code in various file systems on a target system. This is called persistence. The code also can communicate with the server as a call-back function to communicate if it’s being reverse engineered and/ or subsequently call for updates to regain functionality. 

Obfuscation is the ability of a malicious code to hide or disguise its capability as a malicious code to avoid action by the antimalware. A new term known as file-less malware does not contain an active malicious file downloaded onto the target host. Malware exists only in a system’s RAM to avoid being detected. 

Adware vs. malware! But what is adware?  

Funny, unexpected banner advertisements pop on the screen and are intended to entice a user to click them. The pop-ups are disguised as a product or service to purchase in their interest. Unaware to the users, these are tricks malicious code developers use to get users to click and install the code embedded in the links. This is called adware. The malicious code downloads and installs itself onto the device following a user’s interaction, like clicking and visiting untrusted sites that host malware. 

Adware –the money-making malware

Adware is a malware designed to mine a user’s lifestyle information and send it to developers. When infected by adware, new tabs are known to open up in searches by hijacking the browser. You get redirected to unintended sites that host malware. There are also notable automatic add-ons injected into any browsers with vulnerabilities on the targeted device. 

It embeds itself in user interfaces and directly interacts with authority, causing disruption; This annoys users and steals and sends sensitive user credentials to their developers, who use this information to create suitable exploits and conceal them as advertising links to relevant sites the user visits.; This redirects users to malicious sites that host more malware and install or update themselves through user interaction. 

The developers earn revenue from the advertisement links and the extent of malware distributed. User interaction is required by clicking on the malicious links or sites to execute with the malicious sites; This also poses the risk of personal information being sold and used for illegal purposes, like creating fake profiles for criminal use and identity theft.  

The difference between Adware vs. Spyware 

Adware programs are a variant of malware that persistently displays marketing information as pop-ups to users, enticing them to follow or click a link and install malicious applications. Adware is created to raise revenue for developers by hosting advertisements but can also be manipulated into a more dangerous malware. The purpose of adware is to redirect users to an external marketing site. The sites visited are the common source of malicious software that can self-install malware without the user’s intervention. Adware presence is indicated by slow performance. This is because the system keeps on struggling to load malicious code subsequently.  

Spyware has a characteristic behavior of tracking user activities without their consent or knowledge. They install Keyloggers and backdoors on target devices for monitoring user activities, stealing credentials, browsing history, financial transaction details, and system configurations. The information collected is shared or sold to third parties in the black market or dark web. Infected systems slow down performance. 

The Difference between Malware and Adware

The terms malware and virus are sometimes used interchangeably. Malware is a program designed to disrupt or destroy a computing system. It’s distributed via emails or software installations and replicates itself. Adware is a type of malware that displays advertisement windows and denies one privacy. Not all adware programs are malicious.

Malware vs. Viruses: What’s the Difference?

Malware is a broader term that refers to a variety of programs that are illegal and intended to cause harm. A virus is a variant of malware that appends itself on media for propagation and impacts a resource by corrupting or deleting information. It requires human functionality to execute and is designed to steal personal data and destroy files, folders, and applications. Viruses spread by attaching their code to storage and media files, downloadable applications, infected websites, email links and attachments, and even networking devices. The damage’s extent depends on the adversary’s exposure level and the complexity of attack tools or exploits.

How to protect against malware

A good antimalware product should be installed to detect and protect against all malware attacks. It should also be configured well for proper functionality. Malware will at one time manage to reach a network. Users should be denied administrative accounts to minimize the execution of applications. Security settings in browsers should aim to block malicious content and protect the systems, networks, and users from unauthorized access. Logs and browsing history should be cleared after attack incidents to avoid tracking by adware and spyware. 

Any unintended browser extensions should be removed, and unwanted applications uninstalled. Avoid free software downloaded from the internet. Users should also be educated on the importance of human behaviors that impact security practices and strike a compromise by observing policies and procedures as needed. Ability to identify malicious behavior and self-report is key for action to be implemented in time. As long as the application associated is freeware, it poses a risk.

Modern systems have adopted automated tools that offer visibility into the behaviors of code and the intended activity on the network and trigger an alarm. Regular backups are a key to attacks like ransomware without losing a coin. 

Recommended Reading

How To Get Started With Malware Analysis

Malware is software deliberately aimed at gaining unauthorized access to computer networks and servers. It includes all malicious software, for example, spyware, worms, adware, Trojan virus, and ransomware. Fighting back against these enemies through software engineering measures, forensics, or network administration incorporates malware analysis.

With the gradual pace of time, malware activity in the US is increasing. Almost 550,000 malware files are detected daily. In 2022, 75 percent of organizations experienced cybercrimes that resulted from using infected computer systems, ransomware attacks on business operations, phishing sites that mirror images of official sites, including PayPal, encrypted TLS/SSL files, or remote running of code on systems. One of the high-end ransomware attacks was on the UCSF School of Medicine group working on a Covid-19 cure. Additionally, ransomware compensations are increasing, and in 2021, approximately $920,353,000 were charged by criminals only in the US. Consequently, the curing bodies of malware; cyber security teams are deficient in 70% of businesses in the US, according to Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) 2022 survey. With the option of remote working in the Covid-19 crisis, the vulnerability of IT infrastructure has increased, requiring an increase in cyber security networks and malware analysts.  

What is Malware Analysis?

Malware analysis incorporates characterizing malware into:

  • Source code
  • Major elements
  • Characteristics
  • Origin
  • Capabilities
  • Potential for a future threat
  • Prevent future recurrence

As malware is a software program intended to cause harm, its analysis can help to build strategies for decreasing/stopping its replication within the digital ecosystem.

Malware can be complex, and hackers tend to take large data-ransom compensations. Analysis can trace its origin through the geographical location or IP and trace the inexplicable source.

How to Get Started With Malware Analysis?

Malware analysis is a part of the information security (infosec) profession that has struggled to find qualified professionals. Over 90% of security experts say this profession faces shortage and is not any better today than it was in past years.

For a jump-starting career as a malware analyst, the perfect candidate should have a passion for:

  • Fast learning
  • Deriving meaning from source/basics
  • Solving puzzles and link building
  • Thinking outside of the box
  • Solving queries with scientific methods
  • Being resourceful
  • Technical prerequisites:

Technically, a malware analyst seeker should be well aware of the following:

  • Operating system and networking fundamentals
  • Programming hierarchy:
    • Level 1: Scripting Languages including Python, PERL
    • Level 2a: High-Level Language: C/C++
    • Level 2b: Middle-Level Languages: C/C++
    • Level 3: Assembly Language: First human readable codes, including Intel X86
    • Level 4: Machine Code: Representation of hexadecimal in binary code which is readable by the operating system
    • Level 5: Binary Coding: Readable by hardware only

Middle-level languages are typically used for writing malware and complied step by step till level 5 of the hierarchy.

For decoding the malware, reverse engineering is followed, starting from Level 5 to Level 1. It involves disassembling the binary code into the first human-readable code, including Assembly. Hence, a malware analyst should clearly understand the writing of Assembly code.

Assembly code language is a low-level language, and learning can be easy if higher-level languages are already known. For example, printing command code in a higher language includes a one-liner code, while Assembly language code might include up to 15 lines that define single function call execution.

  • Knowledge of using tools:

Some examples of malware analysis tools include:

  • Debugger: WinDbg, OllyDbg
  • Disassembling tool IDA Pro
  • Packer Identifiers
  • Binary and code analysis tools: Qunpack, PE explorer, GUNPacker, ImpRec
  • Extensive Research:

Malware progresses within months and uses old/new methods. Extensive research, including analysis reports, white papers, and research articles, can help to give a clear picture of the steps that can be taken for reverse engineering.

What Are The Three Steps of Malware Analysis?

Step 1: Behavioral analysis

It includes observing the malware’s specimen interactions with its environment and valuable insights into its behavior.

To perform the task, the analyst typically infects the isolated system with the specimen and observes the specimen’s execution with the monitoring tools.

As the malware analyst notices interesting behavioral characteristics, the laboratory environment is modified to evoke new elements. This iterative process helps uncover the malware’s inner workings and ultimately leads to its defeat.

Free tools for behavioral analysis include Wireshark, Process Explorer, and Process Monitor.

Step 2: Code Analysis

The analyst reverse-engineers the code of a malicious program to understand the behavior. 

The process involves: disassembling the code, decompiling it, and debugging it to examine the instructions at a low level.

A disassembler converts the code from the binary form into a human-readable assembly form. A decompiler recreates the program’s source code. Finally, the analyst can interact with the code with a debugger and observe its instructional effects to understand its purpose.

Code analysis can be essential in understanding sophisticated malware and developing countermeasures against it.

Some free tools for code analysis include IDA Pro Freeware and OllyDog.

Step-3: Memory Analysis

Memory analysis is a memory forensics technique that involves examining the memory of an infected computing system. It extracts bits and pieces relevant to a malicious program’s memory.

In the context of reverse-engineering malware, memory analysis helps to identify hidden malicious code called rootkits. It clarifies the program’s run-time dependencies and explains the specimen’s usability on the victim’s system. It saves time and allows the analysts to take shortcuts when studying the specimen’s behavior or code. For these reasons, memory analysis is an essential tool for anyone involved in malware reverse-engineering.

Free tools for memory analysis include Volatility Framework with its linked plugin Memoryze and the program Audit Viewer.

The analyst must explore all three phases to clearly understand malware capabilities. Analysis can include jumping back and forth between steps until sufficient information about the suspect program’s functioning is obtained, which will help identify potential threats more accurately.

Is Malware Analysis a Good Career?


Nowadays, it’s not just about knowing how computers work but also about keeping computing networks safe.

Malware analysts have a competitive edge over other cyber security jobs because they are experts in programming and language skills and have a solid understanding of complex tools.

A successful malware analyst must have an intense passion for programming and readiness to acquire professional certifications. Additionally, one must be willing to spend long hours learning all there is about this field, so it is a rewarding career choice but one requiring specialized skills and dedication for achieving success.

Is Malware Analysis Difficult?

Yes, it can be difficult to achieve milestones.

Learning about malware analysis is a rewarding path that will test patience, concentration, and temperament.

The career path is a war between those who use malicious software (hackers)and anti-malware engineers. Both groups have competing interests in protecting themselves from being hacked and fighting off attacks. It might be challenging, but eventually, when the essential function or piece of data is found after hours spent working on files, nothing can replace this feeling.

Malware Analysis Tools

The malware analysis tools look for IOCs during a suspicious file execution. The malware can be studied by observing the environment changes during execution.

Following are free/open source tools:


  • Ghidra:Released in 2019
  • Plugins include: VTGrep, Binwalk, Yara, Golang Renamer, Daenerys


  • X64dbg:
    • Suitable for windows and user-friendly GUI
    • Plugins: Available on GitHub

Hex Editors:

  • HxD:
    • A memory, disc, and hex editor for Windows that helps to tag portions of memory and search for a unique data set
  • Hiew:
  • Used for file visualization and changes in the code
  • Includes COFF/OMF object files and libraries 


  • Used for the initial running of malware specimens for extracting suspicious artifacts
  • Quick in finding malware detections through a binary code


  • Used for analyzing suspicious documents 

Why Learn About Malware Analysis?

Malware analysis can be used as an essential tool in responding to malware incidents. 

Its goal is two-fold: 

  • First, it extracts information from the sample, which helps in responding; 
  • Second, based on what is known about these sophisticated threats, the aim might also include detecting and containing them before they cause any damage.

Types of Malware Analysis:

Static Malware Analysis

Static malware analysis includes manually examining files without running them through an analyzer. It can identify malicious infrastructure, packed programs or libraries, and strings from external sources such as IP addresses and domains associated with the malware operations.

Dynamic Malware Analysis

The code is executed in a protected environment called a sandbox. It is an approach that allows experts to closely monitor suspected malicious codes without risking system infection.

It is time efficient by reducing the timeframe for detecting malicious code in reverse engineering. However, it might be challenging to disassemble codes written by clever hackers, as they already know that malware analysts will utilize sandboxes.

Hybrid Malware Analysis

The analysis combines both structural and behavioral analysis to deliver highly accurate findings. It can detect unknown threats, even those employing more sophisticated techniques such as hiding their code in memory or preventing it from being identified through traditional means, like Sandbox technology.

The World’s Most Powerful Malware Sandbox

Malware sandboxes provide:

  • A safe space for testing
  • Analysis of potential threats to any computing systems

They are essential tools used by security teams worldwide that work hard every day to fight off advanced malware attacks.

The Falcon Sandbox is the world’s most potent malware sandbox. It is a game changer for organizations looking to withstand potential cyber-attacks. The tool does a deep analysis of vague and unidentified threats. It enriches its results with threat intelligence which helps to comprehend sophisticated web application and vulnerabilities that allows organizations to withstand digital security threats.

What Do Malware Analysts Do?

The malware analyst is a crucial member of the defensive team. The job entails identifying and understanding various forms of malicious software. These include all the diverse types like adware; bots (or robots); bugs that attacker-controlled processes can root.

The security team’s malware analyst will use the skills to disassemble, deconstruct and reverse engineer the malicious code to better protect against future attacks of similar origins or capabilities. They are often called in during an attack’s early stages to clarify what type and how deeply committed hackers are. They also play a significant role when it comes time for mitigation because they can see through anything that could happen with malware inside the computer system.

With advanced persistent threats (APT), it’s not just the malicious code that we need to watch out for; but also clues and patterns that might indicate its presence. In addition, the analyst must constantly be aware of cybercriminals’ new techniques to protect systems from infection.

How Much Do Malware Analysts Make?

In US, the following is the annual pay scale:

  • Entry Level: $78,000
  • Average experience level: $120,000 – $ 165,000
  • Experienced level: up to $234,000

Recommended Reading

Can Ransomware Spread Through Wi-Fi Networks

A Detailed Guide On Typical Targets And Threat Prevention. A couple of times in the New Year, I deep dive into the cybersecurity statistics and cyber attacks that happened over the years. Ransomware attacks will reportedly increase to every 11 seconds by the year 2022. Overall, 9% of the American population becomes a cyberattack victim. A famous example I will be quoting here is from the Kaseya Attack, 2021, which compromised the data of 1500 consumers. It was a crucial attack on the company’s supply chain system conducted by ‘REvil Ransomware.’ 

Many security executives from the companies have said they are unprepared for these attacks. Is it the truth? Let’s dive deep into the world of ransomware to understand it better.

What is Ransomware? – A Deep Insight

Can Ransomware Spread through Wi-Fi Networks? Many people ask me this common question whenever we witness such attacks globally. The attacks compromise the very essence of the confidentiality of an organization. 

RANSOMWARE typically suggests paying a RANSOM to get access to particular information. It is a kind of malicious software that affects the computers of an organization, industry, or individual. The data cannot be accessed until the organization or a person accepts a ransom offer. Phishing is a way to access an organization’s confidential information. If the computers are connected through a Wi-Fi network, it takes seconds for the ransomware to spread and lock all the computers. The year 2022 marks the 15th anniversary of the RANSOMWARE ATTACKS. Almost 23896 security breaches were identified, of which 5212 is a confirmed number. I noticed that these attacks have increased by 13% in past years. 

Typical Targets of Ransomware Attacks

Who does Ransomware typically target? Again, a very thoughtful question has erupted in my mind when writing these kinds of articles. A typical target of this malicious software is the industries/organizations that store confidential public information. Financial information is being held at the helm. Majorly the victims are the Utility sector, Banking sector, and Retail sector. Other sectors that have been under attack are:

  • Supply Chain
  • Education Sector
  • Legal Services
  • Business and Professional Services Providers
  • Manufacturing Sector
  • Central Government
  • Energy Sector
  • IT Sector
  • Defense Sector

The list may go on, but these are some significant sectors that store much confidential and personal information. Despite global efforts to curb this menace, the attacks have significantly increased. The year 2022 is a watchdog year for curbing these attacks to stop the lethal effects. A roadmap for security will be laid down at the 2022 RSA Conference in San Francisco to create cyber awareness. 

Ransomware Attacks Spreading Through Wi-Fi Networks

Another thing that may come to everyone’s mind is that can ransomware spread through Wi-Fi. 

Yes, it affects the chain of computers connected over a similar network leading to a severe breach of business data. It operates as a ‘computer worm’ that, once started traveling, never stops. Cloud Storage can also get affected if a malicious local file from One Drive or Dropbox is synced with the Cloud. The situation seems like a ‘hostage’ where the hacker is in full control of the computers in an organization. Evidently, they want the organizations to meet their demands to release the decryption key.

A contaminated or infected connection shows the ransom demanding message that sends the message across the organization that a security breach has been conducted. For prevention, it’s suggested to secure the PCs and the routers. A Ransomware attack can be prevented by checking for infected external drives. 

I have seen different classes of ransomware infecting the Wi-Fi networks and computers over time. So, considering a universal pattern of protecting your Wi-Fi network can save you from untoward incidents.

Ways Ransomware Spreads Through Wi-Fi Networks

American organizations experienced malicious attack activities in 2021 that compromised their versatile sectors. Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI received almost 3729 ransomware attack complaints. A loss of more than $2.4 billion was already registered by the end of 2021. Though the cyber awareness conference was held in June 2022, the percentage increase in malicious attacks has not come down.

How does Ransomware spread through a network? A typical question that we all want to get acknowledged. By getting abreast with the ways, we can also curate threat prevention. Here are a few ways through which Ransomware attack spreads.

  • Spray and Pray Tactics: A locking technique that prevents victims from accessing their files. They have to pay a smart Ransom to get back access to their data. Most newbie hackers use this tact using dark web scripts. It includes the loading of ‘crypto-malware payloads’ on the organization’s network.
  • Customized Attacks: These attacks are lodged on specific organizations and companies. Hackers keep on tracking those organizations that are negligent about their back-ups and threat detection and only apply traditional anti-malware solutions.
  • Poorly Protected Network: Security vulnerability leads to ransomware attacks. A poorly protected Wi-Fi leads to breach activities. The strong ransomware virus spread from computer to computer within less time. 
  • Phishing Attacks: Common Phishing attacks happen through emails lodged directly into the victim’s computer. An extensively researched and convincing email is sent with ZIP files or PDF sheets attached to launch these kinds of attacks.
  • Malicious Advertising: I have seen many malicious ads that say- ‘Click on the Link to Make Money in Your Spare Time’. What I do is ignore these kinds of ads. A few people fall prey to these false and lucrative advertisements. Hackers purchase the legit Ad space on the internet to launch the Click Bait attacks to spread Ransomware into your device.

Ransomware attacks on vulnerable networks are launched purposefully. This is to earn a handsome amount and exploit the vulnerabilities of the people or organizations.

How To Secure Your Network From Spreading Ransomware?

Federal laws have already been enacted to help organizations get saved from ransomware attacks. Guidance by the FBI states, “Don’t pay the ransom, just report it.”

However, securing your wireless network from spreading ransomware means you must first curb the damage. You can carry out the following steps:

  • I suggest you immediately cut off the infected standpoint from the network. If there is any shared storage, immediately isolate it to stop the spread of ransomware.
  • Each malware requires a different response. Run the identification tool to identify the malicious files or data. It will give a better picture of what to isolate from the company’s network.
  • Call the cybersecurity experts to determine the different approaches to preventing ransomware from spreading through a whole network.
  • FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center undertakes counter-attack measures after the complaint is lodged. Swift action on the attack is a must when companies are dealing with confidential customer data.
  • Assess the Wi-Fi and other networks to identify the starting point of the ransomware attack. It will help you to prevent these kinds of breaches in the future.

Authentication of the server is a must when securing your organization’s network. Triple security using the options like MSPs, ISPs, and SPs must be used. The two-factor authentication method can also save the day by denying suspicious access requests. A recovery data backup plan can save your day. You must keep all important and confidential data on the agile and authentic servers to recover them after a security breach. The standpoint is to keep this crucial backup aloof from the company’s Wi-Fi network.

Threat Prevention Against Wi-Fi Ransomware

Cybersecurity personnel is creating awareness against most of the malware attacks that have happened in recent years. The threat prevention against Wi-Fi Ransomware must be initialized by securing and authenticating the company’s Wi-Fi network. An encrypted network can save the day. 

There are a few best ways to prevent Ransomware through Wi-Fi. These are the possible best cures accordingly.

  • Use Firewall Technology: Web Application Firewall protects against cyberattacks. It monitors and filters the traffic going to and from the web service. Web server vulnerabilities can expose APIs to dangerous traffic. The firewall technology helps keep contents over the web server secured.
  • Be Fast To Incident Responses: Organizations must carry out data backup and store the things off the network. Be sure to take the backup test to ensure proper recovery at any moment. Always keep your incident response plan handy. If the ransomware attack is lodged, call the respective forensic teams.
  • Network Port Settings Review: Ransomware attacks mostly take advantage of Server Message Block Port 445 and RDP Port 3389. You must consider limiting these port options and opening them to trusted hosts only. Organizations must review these port settings for Cloud Environment and On-Premises settings to disable any unused Remote Desktop Protocol ports.
  • Use Multi-Layered Approach: Multi-layered security can be applied to organizational networks using anti-spyware, anti-virus, and intrusion prevention. Avoid the single architectural model for security, and use the multi-layered approach to avoid any failure.
  • Patch Your System Applications: Common usable browsers and apps are the easiest ways to launch a full-scale ransomware attack. It must update the applications and browsers regularly to avert any malware attack. I choose automated patching of the systems to avoid any vulnerability. Moreover, a well-knit application environment can go a long way in addressing any threat.

Can Ransomware spread through LAN? 

Yes, this malicious malware can spread from LAN to the computer. One of the popular examples is the ‘Ryuk Ransomware’ that has a worm-like capability to spread to any Windows machine. It leads to the compromise of the entire network of an organization. This ransomware launched over a network has made predominantly $150 million as a ransom in the form of Bitcoin payments. The ransomware moves from a single machine to other computers and spreads like a worm. It drastically disrupts industrial capabilities and efficiency if security steps are not taken over time. Two-router applicability or user authentication can curb the spread of the virus through the LAN system. 

Can Ransomware Spread To Phone?

Yes, it can spread to the phone through a corporate Wi-Fi network if it gets exposed to employees having infected malware or information on personal mobile devices. The term is known as ‘Mobile Ransomware.’ It happens in the BYOD environment, where employees are free to connect to the workplace’s Wi-Fi device. This ransomware travel through an infected network or the device to other devices. It can affect iPhones and Android devices through a malicious ransomware file. It leads to locking the users’ phones, and they can only decrypt them when they pay a specific amount or pays a voucher of certain dollars as a ransom.

Can Ransomware spread through VPN? 

This is another question that keeps coming to most of us, and even I think about it way back when using public Wi-Fi to update my iPhone. Well, yes! VPNs or Virtual Private Network is a hot spot to get you into the ransomware soup. A few experts state a private secured network protects your device or network against malicious attacks. 

I hope this article has clarified what Ransomware is. How does Ransomware spread through a network? Best ways to prevent ransomware through Wi-Fi and more. 

I need to correct this myth as VPN networks majorly play the role of paving the way for potential attackers. VPN attacks rose after COVID, specifically stated in 2021 when people started working from home. The private networks can be sabotaged easily. To safeguard your VPN system, a secured software solution must be used along with multi-factor authentication. It will help in preventing security breaches into your private network. Never share your username or password in public over social media or messages. Always change your passwords after three months. It must be strong and complex to make it unreachable, and MFA should be your go-to option. 

Recommended Reading

How to Find the Source of Ransomware

Ransomware, In my opinion, is the worst thing that can happen to my files, as well as my wallet. They were hard to deal with back then, but today the old ones don’t work like in their glory days. Today you will learn everything meaningful about ransomware, and I’ll answer the most asked questions about it.

How Does Ransomware Work?

Ransomware is a malware designed to prevent users like me from accessing any file on my device. Let’s say I clicked on a fishy website; there, I find out that “I can earn thousands of dollars just by downloading this app” my naive personality downloads it, and then guess what happened.

The app opens when it’s being clicked on, but my wallet does not get 1000$ richer, in fact, all of my files are encrypted with “Hackers” encryption, and only they have the private key for decrypting them. Of course, they will not hand me the key if asked politely.

I will see a window where it would say something like, “All your files have been encrypted; if you want to get them back, send us 500$ in BTC on this address in 48h. If time expires, it’s no longer 500$ but 800$.”, and If I refuse to pay, all my important files are gone forever.

Fortunately, nowadays, you can find decryption keys on the internet for some known ransomware, but for the newly created ones, there is not much help.

How To Detect Files Being Encrypted?

It can be done just by looking at the extension of the file, but also, I would click on the file or folder, select “Properties” and click the “Advanced” button. If my file/folder is encrypted, the “Encrypt contents to secure data” checkbox will be selected.

What is the source code of ransomware?

If we are talking about where it was found, I would usually find it in phishing emails, on suspicious websites, or in the form of an app or .exe file. There are cases where ransomware is manually installed via a bad USB.
For example, a “Hacker” comes into the company’s building and leaves a USB. I come, as a normal staff and find the USB. The right thing to do is to alert someone about it, and in any condition, not to plug it into a computer, but I decide to test my luck, and that’s how I get fired when all of the files get encrypted.
Now, if we speak about the language it is written in, the most common ones are JavaScript, ActionScript, C#, C, and even Golang. A new ransomware was detected in Java, named Tycoon; it appeared in December 2019.

What Causes Ransomware Attack?

If we talk about people’s intentions, it can be a dedicated attack; for example, a group of “Hackers” will attack a hospital, and if successful, they’ll disable everything used for life support and many important devices and then ask for ransom.

Why is that? Because the government needs to act quickly, or many lives can be in danger. So the best option is to pay the ransom and then send Cyber Forensics to try and find anything related to the attackers. Of course, someone can just release their ransomware on the internet and wait for someone to download it.

Now, if we talk about the cause of why ransomware got into your system, it can be in a few different ways. First off, emails, or in other words Social Engineering. Next would be poor user practice. Now, my important one is the Lack Of Cyber Security Training.

Many companies spend their money and time on the system’s security, forgetting about the easiest and most common attack method, Social Engineering. And, of course, for the end, it’s Weak Password/Access Management, which is self-explanatory.

How To Prevent Ransomware?

The prevention of ransomware is not difficult if you follow the right path. My prevention would be, installing good monitoring applications, as well as anti-malware software. But there is more, I’ll also have frequent file backups, just in case; if the company’s people are involved, I will provide good user training.

Although the risk can’t be completely removed, it can be drastically reduced. Another tip is, that if you feel suspicious about a file, you can always check it out on VirusTotal.com.

Where Does Most Malware Come From?

As many of you already guessed, the most destructive malware comes from Russia and the neighboring states, according to the chief of the UK cybersecurity agency. New analysis says that 74% of all the money made from ransomware belongs to Russian “Hackers”, which would be 400 million dollars in crypto.

Ransomware groups work in jurisdictions where American law can’t reach them.

Can Ransomware Hackers Be Traced?

The best way to try and trace the “Hackers” is through the crypto wallet that was used for the payment or the key of the encryption they possess. Of course, that is not easy as it seems.
First, payments are anonymous; in my case, I would first need to identify which wallets were used to pay the ransom and which to cash out.

There are websites on the internet where you can find a lot about crypto wallets, but you’ll not find a lot about the person behind them. There is a good example where a few people were traced back and caught by the police because of their ransomware called ReEvil.

They were arrested in Romania by Europol, and it’s said that they had over 5000 victims and made about 500.000$ from ransom. I think you can only wait for their mistake; the only thing you can find in the code is how it works.

What If I Get Caught In Ransomware?

You may think that this can’t happen to you, that you are smart and will not download, click and install anything from the internet that you do not trust. Often, “Hackers” will not contact you directly from an unknown user.

Your friend’s profiles are the ones you need to be afraid of. For example, I was cautious about what I said above, but suddenly I saw a pop-up on my Steam about a free skin in a game called CSGO.

It never crossed my mind that it could be a trap since it was my friend sending me the link. Of course, I opened the link, logged on to the website, and my account was lost in a blink of an eye.

After an hour, I got a message from a friend who said his account was hacked and I should watch out. I was thinking, “You telling me that now!?”, but it was too late for me.

The same way it can happen to you, just with ransomware. So let’s get back on the subject; you get caught by it; what now? The first thing will be to check if this ransomware is already documented online.

Check the extension of encryption, and type it on the internet, good site for that would be nomoreransom.org, and if you see that the ransomware is an older version, you can probably find the key on the internet.

If you are not lucky enough and do not have backups of your files, the best thing to do is contact someone whose job is to deal with this. Sometimes it is best just to pay the ransom and be careful the next time.

What Was The Biggest Ransomware Attack?

I’ll say one of the biggest ransomware attacks must be WannaCry. It was a worldwide cyber attack it happened on May 2017. It targeted computers using only Microsoft Windows OS by encrypting their files and demanding a ransom paid in crypto, specifically Bitcoin.

It targeted older systems that are not patched since it propagated through the EternalBlue exploit. It is said that the attack affected around 200.000 computers in over 150 countries, and it is believed that the worm originated from North Korea. Here are some of the ransomware recorded:

  • AIDS Trojan/PC
  • Cyborg (1989)
  • CryptoLocker (2013)
  • Koler
  • Ransom32 (2016)
  • WannaCry (2017)
  • REvil (2019)
  • UHS (2020)
  • Conti (2021)

What Are The Types Of Ransomware?

There are 5 common types of ransomware.

  1. Locker Ransomware
    As it says, this type of ransomware locks users out of their system.
    Usually, users can only view the lock screen or the screen with the ransom demand. The mouse and keyboard would only be available for the payment to be complete. Lockers don’t usually destroy data; it only prevents users from accessing it.
  2. Crypto Ransomware
    It doesn’t lock the system, but it encrypts the data. Users can freely move and interact with the device and encrypt data. Of course, there will be a displayed timer with the cooldown for the payment to be complete.
  3. Scareware
    This is the interesting one; it is trying to freak and scare the users by displaying alarms and warnings such as danger, that way, it’s trying to trick the users into downloading malware that “Hackers” display. Usually, pop-ups look authentic so the normal user will tell no difference.
  4. Leakware
    Also known as Doxware, since the “Hacker”, instead of destroying your data, will threaten to publish it. They usually target banks and organizations that hold confidential data.
  5. Ransomware as a service(RaaS)
    It allows low technical knowledge criminals to subscribe to RaaS and then use the ransomware for further attacks. Of course, creators earn the percentage of the money their subscribers make.

Recommended Reading

Can Ransomware Affect Google Drive

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware combines two words, “malware” and “ransom.” Ransomware virus infects your files with malware that encrypts them just like a lock requiring decryption to unlock, but that key is mostly in the attacker’s hand, so you can’t access your data. To access them, you need that digital key from the attacker, which you will get after you pay a ransom, usually in cryptocurrency.

The main goal of ransomware is to implant fear for your data. The main ransomware contrast from other malware and viruses is that it reveals itself openly. You may see a blocked screen, some panic, and pay the ransom money. In most cases, this is the only action you can take – hackers are hard to track, so it may take months for cyber departments to return your data, or maybe it never comes back.

The sequence of events in a ransomware attack

  • You perform “a wrong action” like clicking on malicious links, opening untrusted files, downloading a malware program, putting a tick, and so on.
  • The wrong action then initiates a ransomware attack. The malware infects your data and encrypts targeted files like Doc, Docx, text, photos, or maybe everything.
  • The malware makes itself visible by putting pop-ups on your screen, asking you to pay money (mostly in cryptocurrency) to get access to your data.
  • In case you pay the ransom, it is not sure that you will get your data. But yes, if the attacker provides you with a decryption and decryption utility, then you would enter that decryption in the utility. After then, by selecting encrypted files, the decryption process would start.

Can ransomware affect Google Drive?

If you ask the same questions to people out there, many will say No, as google drive is believed to be the safest cloud storage. However, they aren’t right here. Ransomware attacks have already impacted many cloud-based companies as much as on-premise ones. Sophos reported that over 75% of companies infected with ransomware editing ran updated endpoint security and protection. So if you think your cloud-stored files are safe, you are totally wrong. Even if ransomware hits files on your computer, it can still easily infect your files in your storage cloud. Even if you use a protected/secure system architecture, you are still not entirely safe.

 To protect your Google Drive from ransomware, you need to know how it can reach you. In some cases, if you luckily catch the right type of ransomware, you may be able to restore previous healthy versions of the data files on your Google Drive. But most of the latest types of ransomware don’t let you do that, so it may not be too hopeful. Let’s figure it out.

Ways Ransomware Can Infect Your Google Drive

Similar to other cloud services, Google Drive is also vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Google Drive can suffer such attacks in the following two scenarios. 

Ransomware Through the Backup & Sync Tool

Backup & Sync is a free synchronization toolkit from Google. It syncs the local environment with Google Drive and duplicates the files from your Google Drive to your computer. Any modification on Google Drive reflects on your local devices and vice versa.

This absolute fast synchronization is just another wonderful thing by Google, but it also brings risks to the top of your table in case of a ransomware attack. Imagine you downloaded a file from the internet which had attached malicious code.

 When you run that file, the malicious code will execute and encrypt all your files on your computer, including synchronized data in the Drive folder. Backup & Sync will take the encrypted files as regular file modifications and get them automatically synced with Google Drive. And then Boom!!! This way, your files on Google Drive will get infected with ransomware.

 The encryption happens in seconds, and you even can’t react, and all of your files would be synchronized before you could turn the synchronization off.

The aftermath is even more terrible if you share the links to infected documents with other individuals who downloaded the infected file on their computer; their files would also be doomed.

Ransomware Through Third-party Apps and Extensions

As we know, Google’s G Suite now supports third-party extensions and apps that boost the usability of Google apps. But with better workflow and efficient functionalities, those can also bring a cyber threat to your data.

With time, we all downloaded and installed those extra apps to make its use convenient. They help us modify and sign the PDF docs, create, trace, and share schedules with other team members and stakeholders online, convert some file formats to other formats, edit photos on the cloud, and much more. How do you look for those programs to give you all these features? In Google’s G-Suite, of course.

And that’s where the risks awoke. Still, thinking about How can a virus infect google drive storage? It is mostly due to the permissions you or your team grant them. The higher the privileges level is provided to the application, the higher the dangers. When you install an app, a pop-up always asks you to access and manage your data in a particular folder. If you allow the app to manage data on your whole Google Drive, you open up their hands. After this moment, that malicious app can encrypt files/data, grab your sensitive information, read your company’s information, send messages to somebody on your behalf, and so on.

What Can Companies Do To Protect Themselves from Ransomware?

Read Emails Carefully

Can ransomware infect Gmail? Have you ever gone through this question? Well, most ransomware attacks against companies and organizations were initiated from emails. Malware (ransomware viruses) was attached to some kind of manipulative emails, and when one of the employees opened that mail, it got spread into the network. So be careful while opening emails and attachments. If you find something suspicious, mark that as spam.

Always backup your data.

Always have a good backup of your important data. When using Backup & Sync, remember that it is a synchronization tool, not a backup solution. This way, it doesn’t save your files; it just synchronizes them with all your devices or systems and reflects the changes rapidly, which helps you to use the latest version of your documents anytime, anywhere.

The proper way to avoid data loss is always to have a real backup.

Be smart and educate your employees.

Educate yourself and your employees. Spend some time reading about the most widespread ransomware, phishing methods, and red flags. Undertake security training. It raises your probe to not fall for the trap of hackers and be ready for possible threats.

Be cautious. Don’t rush to click and open attachments blindly; take your time to inspect the content. Negligence and hurry would cost you much more if you haven’t backed up your data beforehand.

Use trusted third-party extensions:

The best method is to conduct an audit of third-party extensions. You must always analyze the trustworthiness of the application or extension before using it and providing access to your data. But it can be pretty challenging to investigate all extensions in a company with many employees. 

You can’t depend on your colleagues and would need to spend time examining every app manually. Don’t worry, though; we have a much easier method.

A good cybersecurity service provider like Spinone can automatically scan the security level of the risky third-party apps connected to your G Suite. The service identifies malicious business apps and blocks them before use. 

How Do I Remove Ransomware Virus From Google Drive?

It was all about Ransomware and Prevention, but what if you have already been targeted and lost data? How would you recover your files from a ransomware attack in the case of Google drive? Don’t worry; all you have to do is simply follow the steps given below.

  • Initially, activate your anti-virus and install the latest security updates from your operating system (Microsoft in the case of windows).
  • Then try to recover data from the trash or recycle bin and update your files. Downgrade the encrypted files to those which you have to restore from the trash
  • If you are still unable to recover it, go to google drive and try to find the old version of those files and downgrade the encrypted files from there.

If this doesn’t help you, it is better to approach google support and ask for good solutions to your problems. You can also learn from Google Supports.


In conclusion, we have learned what ransomware is, can ransomware affects google drive, and how to remove ransomware. Concisely, you must consider when and where you click while downloading files. Examine third-party extensions before installing. Be sharp and smart while reading emails from unknown or suspicious sources. See you in the next informational article. Bye! 

Recommended Reading

How to Tell If Malware Is Packed

Every computer user has to deal with malware at some point. While most packed malware is created to disrupt a computer or steal information, the underlying motive behind malware creators is to make money illegally. If you are surprised and wondering why someone would go so far as to attack a computer or a mobile device.

Let’s take a moment to consider their motives, including what packed malware is, how to identify it, and also give tips on the types of malicious malware that could put a computer at risk.

First, let’s try to understand what packed malware is.

What is packed malware?

Packed malware is a type of malware that is difficult to detect and analyze because it is compressed or encrypted. The encryption makes it difficult for antivirus software to detect and remove it from a system. This malware is often used by cybercriminals to distribute packed code without being detectedmaking it a serious threat to computer systems.

How to tell if malware is packed

Malware has been a growing threat over the past couple of decades. Security specialists and analysts have found that malware has been on the rise since the early 2000s. However, malware can be tricky to find while they hide in plain sight. But with technology making strides, the fight against cyber vandals and criminals is getting easier.

Here are some tips to tell if malware is packed.

Network Traffic

Malicious packets can crash or control network devices. On a home device, malicious packets attack can compromise an entire network with a simple message. If packets are being sent out of a network from an infected machine, the best way to tell is to look at the traffic going through the router. 

If any suspicious activity is detected, take a closer look at the packets themselves to see if there is anything unusual about them. For instance, If I suspected that the packets were malicious, I would take steps to block them from leaving the network. I’d disconnect the infected device from the network immediately. 

Unusual system logs

Cyber campaigns are discovered utilizing a malicious technique for planting packed malware on target machines. This technique involves injecting a never-before-seen shellcode into OS event logs. To detect an unusual system log in a machine could indicate that an operating system was compromised.

Use anti-malware software

Malicious programs often try to hide their activities inside legitimate applications. A good way to tell whether a program is packed with malware is to open it up in a disassembler. This program allows one to see all the code in an executable program, including any code that normally wouldn’t be visible when running a program.

 Disable unused services

Some malicious packed malware uses services that aren’t normally enabled on a computer. This can allow the malware to gain access to sensitive information or perform other malicious actions. To protect your computer from this type of malware, you should only enable the services that you need. To prevent these services from running at startup, disable them. There are instructions online for how to do this. If I need to use the service later, I’ll re-enable it.

What are the characteristics of packed malware?

Packed malware is designed to steal information, sabotage operations, or cause financial loss. This malware may attack computers individually or collectively (e.g., via botnets) over a network. The best way to stay safe online is to avoid downloading anything from untrustworthy websites. Additionally, you can use common sense when visiting a website – if it looks suspicious or if you don’t know much about it, it’s probably best to avoid it.

What to look out for in packed malware?

If you are worried about malware, it’s important to know how to identify them beforehand. First, look for a non-standard icon. If an icon looks different from others, or if it’s blurry, it could be malware. These features are often warning signs that an icon has been changed by a virus.

If an icon appears to be different from others, or if it appears blurry, it’s good to double-check the file type and extension to make sure the icon hasn’t been changed by a virus. If I don’t recognize the icon, or it just looks strange, there’s a chance it’s been changed. Sure, icons may be a small detail, but their presence can signify the safety of my computer.

Another thing to look for is a random address bar. If the address bar is random and there’s no real website at the URL, it could be that the malware has changed the site’s original address. Malware can be very dangerous.

If the URL address bar is replaced with a meaningless series of characters, but there is a website present, the malware may be hacking into and altering the page. Additionally, the malware may redirect all of the website’s visitors to a phishing page that tries to get login information and credit card details.

It’s important to look at several indicators when it comes to malware. Here are more indicators that I’d normally look out for in packed malware:

  • Examine the filename. If a filename is strange and doesn’t look like any normal file I would use, or if the file extension is different than usual, I’d rather be suspicious. 
  • I will also check the registry entries. Look for anything that doesn’t belong or is out of the ordinary.
  • The file content is another area that will be my concern. It should have a base, not an executable. This base will tell me if it’s packed or not.
  • Finally, if the malware has modified a .dll file, it will be difficult to remove.

A .dll is a library of code that controls the program’s use of hardware. It helps software communicate with other programs, as well as hardware devices. The operating system also relies on .dlls to run. So, when a malicious program corrupts a .dll, it can cause severe consequences. 

How to unpack malware

If we download a packed file and want to know what’s inside it, we can use a program called a “debugger”. A debugger allows us to see the code inside any packed program, including the code that unpacks the program and its original files. Some debuggers also allow us to “single-step” through the code and pause the debugger at any point to examine the contents of any variable.

Even if I can’t unpack a packed program, I don’t assume it’s safe. Malware authors sometimes deliberately add extra code to make their programs harder to unpack. If I can’t open a packed program in a disassembler or debugger, there’s a chance that it’s packed malware.

Steps to unpack malware


Backtracking is using the previous steps from the point of infection to determine what happened before and after it. There are 2 ways to do this; manually or automatically. To manually backtrack, we need to identify all of the infected files and directories.

Unpacking Malware

Unpacking malware is the reverse of packing malware. Instead of using a packer to encrypt data, it decrypts it. This is done by finding the encryption keys that were used. Malware writers use various methods to hide their keys from being discovered.


Once we have identified the hidden keys, we can move forward and fix the problem. This involves making changes to software or websites to remove the decryption keys so they cannot be used again.

What does it mean if malware is packed?

Packed malware is a type of malware that gets downloaded onto a victim’s PC without them knowing about it. This happens when someone sends an attachment via email, downloads a file from a website, or opens a file sent from somebody else. Packed malware infects a device by attaching itself to legitimate software or services. The malware then makes changes to the program that allows it to behave differently than before. 

Usually, these changes cause damage to the device, sometimes causing serious problems. For example, if a user downloads a package that contains malware, the antivirus program might not detect the virus. Or, if there is a problem with the user’s Internet connection, the packed malware could alter the DNS configuration or add unwanted advertisements to the browser.

Packed malware comes disguised as something else. For example, some popular examples include:

  • PDF document attachments
  • Word documents
  • Zip archives
  • Rich text format (RTF) files
  • Powerpoint presentations (PPT)
  • Flash files
  • Java applets
  • JAR files
  • Macromedia page components

What are malware packing techniques?

Malware packing techniques involve hiding malicious code inside legitimate software applications. The most common way for hackers to hide malware in legitimate apps is to insert harmful code directly into the app’s executable file (the file that contains instructions to run the program) or to modify the binary code to encode a hidden message. 

Users who are enticed to download and install a modified app may not realize that their device has been infected. Making it easy for hackers to sidestep traditional signature-based security and forensics tools. 

Here are 3 techniques used by hackers when creating packed malware

Trojan horse Technique

Hackers have created several different types of malware-packing techniques. One popular method is called a trojan horse. In this technique, a hacker creates an application that looks similar to a legitimate app. He then inserts his malicious code into the app’s executable or data files. When users download and install the application, the operating system automatically loads the malicious code into memory. Since the application appears to the user to be legitimate, it gets installed without raising any suspicion. Once the malware runs, it can access and control the victim’s computer.

Polymorphic Trojan Technique

Another common technique is known as a polymorphic Trojan. A polymorphic Trojan hides its malicious payload in a piece of legitimate code that can change its appearance at runtime. For example, when the malware loads, a user might notice something odd about the app – a strange font, an unusual screen layout, or a weird icon. But each time the app runs, the malicious code changes its appearance to look normal again. For instance, when the user clicks a button, the malware launches whatever payload it contains instead of just displaying an error message.

Self-Replicating Technique 

The third type of malware-packing technique comes via self-replicating viruses. Self-replicating viruses are relatively rare; only a few exist today. However, once a self-replicating virus gains root privileges on a host machine, it goes hunting for other machines on the network to infect. If it successfully replicates, all those affected computers become zombies, meaning they cannot be trusted.

These days, many cybercriminals use social engineering to drive targets to a legitimate website and entice the target to download compressed malware. Social engineers work to gain trust to get potential victims to click links or open attachments. To avoid falling prey to these attacks, don’t click on links or attachments you are unsure of. 

How much malware is packed?

92% of malware was packed executable in 2006. Of course, there exists that usage of packers for protection of commercial programs from malicious reverse engineering, but this normal usage is less than 2% (in fact, there is no study about normal usage of packers).

What does it mean if a file is packed?

When a file is packed with malware, it means that the file has been maliciously modified to include code that is harmful and rarely used for benign purposes, like delivering advertising with trackers, installing software that accesses your webcam and/or microphone, password stealing, remote access, and control, and worse. There are many ways to get malicious software onto your computer and many ways to clean it off.

Unpacking a malware-packed file means you’re opening that file so it can be opened and become usable again.

What is the difference between packed malware and unpacked malware?

In computing, packed malware is a type of malicious software that is compressed or “packed” to evade detection by antivirus software. Packed malware is often distributed as a “Trojan horse” or “drive-by download” and can be unpacked and installed on a victim’s computer without their knowledge or consent.

Unpacked malware, on the other hand, is malware that has not been compressed or packed. This type of malware is more easily detected by antivirus software and is typically less sophisticated than packed malware. However, unpacked malware can still be dangerous and should be removed from a computer as soon as possible.

Packing and unpacking are types of protection used by hackers. Hackers can hide malicious programs from antivirus programs by compressing and encrypting the code. Decompressing and decrypting the code is sometimes necessary to fully examine the code. Some viruses and malicious programs can technically be considered packed malware because they are compressed or encrypted.


Packed malware is a serious threat to any computer user. The best way to protect from malware is to be cautious about which programs we download and install from the internet. If a program seems suspicious, we should avoid installing it. If we do download an infected program, we can use a disassembler or debugger to unpack the program. Once the packed program is unpacked, we can analyze it more carefully to identify any malicious code inside it.

Recommended Reading