A Comprehensive Guide On Ransomware Malware

Not recently, but I have also seen many security breaches taking a toll on companies. These Ransomware attacks have shaken the very essence of the companies as they have to pay a hefty amount to get the details back. A financial and reputation loss leaves an organization in shambles. According to the report, Ransomware will damage to $10.5 trillion by 2025. This valuation shows how these Ransomware attacks need to be addressed soon. As cyber gangs are adopting new strategies and targeting high-profile targets, it is a must for law enforcement agencies to react quickly. Let us now check out the complete guide on Ransomware malware. 

What Is Ransomware?

One day you get to work, feed your authentication, and start working, and all the files vanish. Original file sources are not present at their destination. This is when you come to know malware has attacked your device. Ransomware is the name of that deadly malware that encrypts all the files deleted from the source. 

What is Ransomware? The question has many answers. A Simple definition is a malicious software that blocks users’ access to the computer system or threatens to publish the data on the black web. The scenario occurs when the ransom is not paid to the particular cyber criminals. These Ransomware gangs can target any customer or business type. Most of the attacks have been carried out in European and American countries. The gangs can purchase the Ransomware kit from the dark web to carry out innovative Ransomware attacks. 

It is necessary for the organization’s top to middle management, especially employees with access to confidential information, to remain vigilant. Companies must follow multi-factor authentication. Instead of crippling your organizational work, the employees must work collaboratively with law enforcement agencies and cyber experts. The ransom asked must be reported immediately.

How Does Ransomware Works?

As we know, Ransomware is a process of encrypting the victim’s files, and the preparators ask for a ransom to release the decryption keys. How does Ransomware work? Most users are unaware of the nature of Ransomware attacks, and it’s working. Many Ransomware types are modern and innovative, whose source files cannot be tracked. The attackers use fileless Ransomware attacks and release the victim’s data on the dark web. 

Now, let me take you through the key ways Ransomware is executed on your computers and networks.

Phishing Email

Masquerading and sending the trusted files to gain the users’ confidence. The Ransomware is sent through phishing emails that look trustworthy. The attack is launched on the victim’s computer or a whole network if the user downloads the files. 

Use of Social Engineering Tools

Social engineering skills make the users trust the email sent. Most hackers are nowadays using the ‘NotPetya’ tool to exploit the user’s computer without tricking them. It resembles Petya, which makes users download spam email files but spreads without human intervention. WMIC and PsExec tools in Windows are used to access other network computers and exploit them remotely. 

Fake Ads

Many attackers use Malvertising or Fake Ads that appears as a pop-up on some websites. It unleashes the attack and infects the computers in the network. External drives like USB and malware chat messages can launch the attack vigorously.

Posing As Law Enforcement Agency

Ransomware attackers might pose as the official from the law enforcement agency. They can shut down the victim’s computer on the pretext of the presence of pornography or scrolling through these websites. It makes the victim vulnerable, and they do not report the attack. Ransom is easily retrieved through this method.

Plugin Vulnerabilities

Many sophisticated attacks are carried out without human intervention. These are called ‘drive-by’ attacks. It affects the whole computer system by exploiting browser plugin vulnerabilities. 

Exploitation Through External Drives

USBs can be the main way of introducing vulnerabilities into the victim’s computer. It can be introduced through the zip folder present in the Microsoft Office document macros. Even fax or an attachment can also play the same role.

How Do I Get Ransomware? 

If someone types this query next time on Search Engine, I hope these pointers will help them acknowledge it. I have carefully chosen the significant ways the attackers attack the user’s computers and networks. Be extra vigilant about the same. Organizations are attacked every 11 to 14 seconds, and there are endless ways attackers choose. You need to be extra cautious and attend the training given in-house to curb the cybercrime menace. More than $20 billion has been valued to be paid for Ransomware attacks until now. It is a grave figure that has made more than 11% of businesses pay ransom to attackers to get decryption tools. The valuation is stated to be more than $1 million or more. 

Ransomware Attack And Its Targets

The Ransomware attack encrypts the victims’ files and other sources into the computer network. It is launched on the user’s computers using versatile ways:

  • Phishing Emails
  • Spam messages attachments
  • Exploiting the browser plugins
  • Lack of cyber security training and poor cyber practices
  • Weak passwords
  • Access to many people
  • Not following multi-level authentication technique
  • Use of malicious website
  • Fake Ads
  • Stolen passwords or users’ credentials
  • No to less funding on the company’s cyber security solutions/ software

These security breaches have made the computers present in the network vulnerable to many types of malware. The viruses can easily make their way to every computer in an organization as they spread like worms. These attacks sometimes affect the ability to bounce back as the customer’s information and brand reputation are jeopardized significantly. Stunted growth is another problem that a company faces after a Ransomware attack. The customer support team finds it difficult to calm the customers’ nerves after the news spreads like wildfire. Many brands must shut down their businesses after facing a financial crunch or pay a huge ransom to get the secretive data back.

The common Ransomware attack targets are big to small organizations nowadays. These companies are quite vulnerable to attacks because of the loopholes in their organization’s cyber security system. Most demands are made for Bitcoins so identifying the attackers or the attacks becomes the biggest task. No middlemen are involved, so it becomes difficult to trace the attackers. Many US agencies have been attacked by Russian hacking experts that have asked for ransoms in the form of gift vouchers or Bitcoin. These attacks are launched on individual computers in the company or the whole network.

The supply chain companies, education sector, banks, government agencies, hospitals, hospitality industry, energy sector, IT firms, law firms, small and mid-sized businesses, etc., are some of the most significant targets of Ransomware attacks. These companies possess a large amount of customer data, and exploiting the data means getting hands on the end-users sensitive financial and personal details. If the data is released on the dark web, it can get the company or a firm into controversies.

Insight Into Types Of Ransomware

In the past few years, Ransomware attacks have become common, and hackers have taken innovative steps to carry them out. There are versatile types of Ransomware attacks carried out. A few of them are:

Locker Ransomware

A law enforcement agency message appears on your Windows screen stating that your computer has noticed illegal activity. It leads to the user’s devices locking and asking them to pay a certain amount. Attackers generally ask for Bitcoin.


Social engineering tools are used to shock and scare the user into a panic situation. Users are tricked to purchased software that is of no use to them. This Ransomware attack states that the victim’s computer has been exposed to malware or a fake virus. The links must not be clicked if the statement is not issued by the organization’s cyber security department or third-party protection service provider.

Crypto Ransomware

It is the most widespread type of Ransomware attack that has been noticed after the locker Ransomware. This Ransomware encrypts all the files of the victim’s computer and demands a ransom to release the decryption key. Cryptocurrency is the main form of ransom asked. Malicious emails, websites, and file downloads are the methods to spread this Ransomware.


It is also known as Doxware Ransomware threatens to abuse and release the secretive data of the company on the dark web. It makes helpless companies pay a large amount of ransom. The common form of a Ransomware attack is launched by posing as a law enforcement agency to avoid a jail term by paying the asked fee.


Ransomware as a Service is emerging as the most common form of a security breach where the preparators of the malware provide kits as a service. These creators offer Ransomware strains in the subscription mode to the gangs of cybercriminals. An entry fee is charged by the gangs who are providing a particular strain. After a person has launched a successful attack and collected the ransom value, part payments are paid to RaaS offering gangs.

DDoS Ransomware

This moderate type of Ransomware denies the user service until the ransom is paid. It targets your organization’s network instead of data. DDoS brings your whole network to a standstill by sending spurious requests and sending the ransom note. If the users become vulnerable, they may pay the sum of ransom. However, if it is reported, the hacker cannot sustain the user’s network for a long time.

These are a few common but deadly types of Ransomware attacks carried out by hackers. You can choose to report the matter to FBI Cyber Crime Department to get out of this nuisance. A well-knit cyber expert team can also save the day. It is necessary to provide the company’s employees with Ransomware training and teaching. 

How To Protect The Organization From Ransomware Attack?

How do I protect myself from Ransomware? Majorly searched questions by the users who have faced the problem before. Security vulnerabilities can bog you down and give you an anxiety attack when you see the attacker’s warning flashing on your system. A vulnerability scan is required to protect your data from getting encrypted in the future. 

People who do not want to land in any major problems must follow these key ways to protect themselves from Ransomware.

  • Do Not Accommodate Fake Calls: Most organizational employees get calls from scammers to disclose their personal information or financial details to help them avert fines. These scammed calls must be avoided at every cost. Never login to the sites they mention. Even the phishing messages tailored and addressed only to you must be cross-checked with your company’s management and cyber security department.
  • Never Run Unwanted Software: Employees in the company install or run many gaming software on their computers. It must be avoided at all costs. The cyber security department must restrict the unwanted third-party software interfering with the organization’s work.
  • Back-Up All The Important Files: Prevention is always better than cure. You must back up all the important files, as it will lessen the damage caused by the Ransomware attack. You can retrieve the important documents even if the encryption takes place. 
  • Update Your Computer Systems And Networks: The latest security patches are released to keep the operating system and programs updated. With regular updates, you can secure the computer system and networks. Cybercriminals won’t be able to exploit the vulnerabilities too.
  • Use Of Layered Protection Suite: The layered suites help detect threats before they enter the network system. It can lead to blocking malicious websites, harmful links, phishing, and other threats.
  • Do Not Fall To Alluring Emails: Do not entertain the pleasing and appeasing trendy emails that get you to click on the links. Get the security software installed that can acknowledge malicious emails and sites. It will help block them instantly, and your confidential data will not be stolen.
  • Use The AntiVirus Software: You must secure your devices against any Ransomware attacks. Install a good antivirus like Quick Heal or Avast to secure your computer or laptop against a Ransomware attack. Even it can help you with multi-factor authentication and takes your permission to allow any website or link to open. You can deny it if you find it malicious.

These are a few measures to protect oneself from falling prey to Ransomware attacks. 

How Can I Remove Ransomware?

Have you ever faced a security breach? Has your organization come under a Ransomware attack? If yes, you will find the on-spot answer to your question how can I remove Ransomware? Read the section carefully to know how to remove Ransomware from the system or the network.

  • It is mandatory to apply security patches to the applications you are using. Third-party plugins and apps can exploit the vulnerabilities in your system. These patches will help prevent hackers from entering the machines through holes in the installed software.
  • Disconnect your infected system from the whole network. It will not lead to the spreading of the Ransomware worm to other computers. Carry out the backup of your computer and other systems too.
  • Using the decryption tool is also a safe method. Kaspersky investigates innovative Ransomware attacks and provides the tools accordingly. More than 60,000 Ransomware variants are stated to be modern and advanced. An appropriate decryption tool will help you access the encrypted files.
  • You can use the free antivirus tools to remove the Ransomware malware from your Windows PC. The files of your computer will get encrypted, but it will stop the spread of malware to another computer or the whole network. Always download the antivirus tool from authorized websites to stop other forms of malware from attacking your PC.

These are some ideas to remove malware from your computer or network. If the encryption is widespread, make sure to call law enforcement agencies. They will take thoughtful action to remove the malware from the network and keep the criminal elements at bay. Never entertain the ransom demands and instead report the matter to the FBI.

History Of Ransomware Attacks

The history of Ransomware attacks dates back to 1989 when Joseph L. Popp, an evolutionary biologist from Harvard, sent almost 20,000 infected floppy disks to the guests attending the World Health Organization’s AIDS Conference. After the insertion of the disk, it took nearly 90 reboots to make files and directories encrypted. It was reported that Joseph asked for $189 as the ransom. 

It was just the start of Ransomware attacks. Until 2011, more than 60,000 new Ransomware variants were detected, rising at an unexpected rate. More than 40% of businesses have been affected, and the cost per business comes to $1 million during the attack. 

WannaCry started the ‘perfect Ransomware storm’. In May 2017, this Ransomware worm spread across a number of networks and systems. It affected not only the Windows PC but also the external hard drives making it impossible for the users to use the information. These North Korean hackers demanded bitcoin in ransom. This Ransomware contains a copy of the TOR web browser that makes your website scrolling anonymous. TOR here works as the command-and-control tool for Ransomware gangs. 

The crime types mainly include online frauds, phishing emails, corporate data breaches, threats of violence, denial of service, credit card fraud, etc., if the ransom is not paid to the attackers. The year 2000 has seen Ransomware attacks as the main source of monetization.

We all know more than 60,000 popular Ransomware variants are known. I cannot name every variant here. However, I can provide a list of popular variants that have shaken the very essence of the internet world in the past few years. It will give you an idea of how dangerous Ransomware attacks can be. 

Some of them are:

  • Crypto Locker is one of the first malware attacks that happened in 2010. It was at its peak in 2013 and 2014. More than 500,000 machines were affected and encrypted. It collected more than $3 million as ransom.
  • Gameover ZeuS Botnet also made the waves during the year 2014. It sends malicious spam messages to encrypt users’ files like the Crypto Locker. The Banking, Government, and Healthcare sectors were its main targets. An International Operation ‘Operation Tovar’ was carried out to take down this malware. 
  • TeslaCrypt was first found in the game source files and software in 2015. It encrypts user-profiles and recorded plays. In addition, the ransom is demanded within a prescribed time limit from the victim. After the payment, the decryption key is provided to the user.
  • Locky, first detected in 2016, infected the computer system through the Microsoft Word document infected macros. This malware directed the users to malicious websites where they asked for a hefty ransom amount to release the decryption keys.
  • SimpleLocker affects Android mobile users majorly. It infects mobile devices through the Trojan downloader. 
  • A Mac Ransomware emerged in 2016, KeRanger, that infected the Apple OS X. It used the transmission application and infected over 6500 computers. However, it was discovered in a day and quickly removed from the systems by the experts.

Many other variants, like Petya, REvil, Ryuk, SNAKE, LeatherLocker, Cerber, SamSam, BadRabbit, Thanos, etc., exploited the vulnerabilities of the computer systems and launched the attacks swiftly and easily. It is necessary to install anti-malware tools to protect your network and system against Ransomware attacks.  

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