Why Ransomware Is Dangerous And Difficult To Stop?

I recently talked about Ransomware in one of my previous articles related to its threats and how to prevent it. Here, I bring another big thing about why Ransomware is dangerous and difficult to stop. Ransomware is not at all a 21st-century invention but dates back to 1989. A year in which primitive Ransomware was devised. The first ever case was reported in Russia in 2005. Since that time, Ransomware has been reigning in the cyberattack world.

What is Ransomware? What do You Need to Know about it?

Technically speaking, Ransomware is a kind of malicious software used by miscreants to get ransom out of the computer user’s pocket. It is a threat to publish, lock, or entirely block the users’ confidential data. It can affect an individual or an organization as a whole. It spreads through LAN, VPN, and phones in a BYOD environment.

The North Americans and Europeans have often fallen victim to this attack. The largest Ransomware attack happened in the spring of 2017. It affected 150 countries and 200,000 victims, and hackers asked them to pay the ransom in Bitcoin. WannaCry was the name of this Ransomware, which proved deadly.

A famous quote about WannaCry is- “WannaCry is a Stuxnet of Ransomware.”

Why Is Ransomware So Dangerous?

Businesses and individuals worldwide have faced the wrath of Ransomware at one point. Needless to state, the threats and their aftermath have proved horrendous for the smallest organizations. Ransomware attacks start by sending Phishing Emails to the users. One wrong move by the user, like clicking on a malicious link or a lucrative Ad post, they are doomed.

Most attacks launched on organizations are well-devised and planned. It starts spreading from one user computer into a company like a ‘worm’ to another user computer, and so on. A full chain is formed, and the business activities get shut down. Recent examples of high-profile Ransomware attacks were reported on:

  • The largest U.S. fuel pipeline company, Colonial Pipeline, was hit by a cyberattack by hackers. This company faced the situation of the locked-up computer. They demanded ransom for releasing the decryption key. The hackers did not take pipeline operations control, but the company shut down its operations to curb any damage.
  • Another deadly attack was carried out on the biggest meat processor company in Brazil, JBS. REvil Ransomware was behind the dangerous attack, and a Russian-based gang was behind this attack. FBI took the proceedings into its hand to process the attackers’ details.
  • Several other recent attacks were made on the Irish Health System, Massachusetts Ferry Operator, and many other companies.

All these Ransomware attacks show why Ransomware attack is dangerous. The organization must take strict steps to curb these security breaches. Moreover, their cyber department must exercise extra vigilance. However, a few companies have reported that the miscreants used complex and sophisticated tools to carry out these attacks. The hijacking of private information from users makes Ransomware quite dangerous. ‘Users feel like they have been locked out of their own house.’

Insight Into Operations Carried Out By the Ransomware Gangs.

Sometimes, we all get an email that looks legit. As soon as we click, we get locked out of our computer screen. Cyber extortion has developed recently as a trillion-dollar industry. Crime syndicates provide RaaS or Ransomware-as-a-Service to the clients for a hefty fee. Cybercriminals are making more than $1.5 trillion every year. These Ransomware gangs are present globally, but most attacks are carried out in a few European nations. Russian gangs are predominantly marked behind the worst Ransomware attacks in history.

Let us now see how Ransomware gangs operate. Most of these Ransomware attacks are ranked similarly to terrorist moves. The gangs build security breaches and team up with like-minded individuals or organizations to conduct these Ransomware attacks. They intimidate their victims to get the maximum ransom out of their pockets.

A study by Analyst 1 shows a list of operational Ransomware gangs like Viking Spider, who were the makers of Ragnar Locker Ransomware. Twisted Spider group was the creator of the Egregor and Maze Ransomware. Lockbit Gang, who combined the cyber criminals’ cartels to carry out the vicious attacks in 2020, and Wizard Spider, the creator of Ryuk and Conti Ransomware.

Here are some of how these Ransomware gangs operate:

  • One gang will steal the data and share the information about the victim, and another will perform phishing and extortion activities.
  • Multiple cybercriminals share the command-and-control servers to leverage communication using identical I.P. addresses.
  • These gangs employ the best coder employees who undergo a crucial recruitment process. They have to abide by the legalities set by these Ransomware gangs.
  • Gangs are using the new toolset and modern Ransomware codes to initialize the attacks by incorporating and maximizing the level of disruption.
  • I have also read that many Ransomware gangs share and swap tactics. They operate based on the ‘common modus operandi.’ Like, these gangs will adopt virtual machines in the victim environment. The group Viking Spider initialized this process, where they shared and swapped the tactics between varied gangs.
  • Most of these Ransomware gangs proudly associate themselves with these cybercrime cartels. They also take responsibility for the acts committed on the dark web.

What Kind Of Damage Is Caused By The Ransomware?

As I have mentioned, the Ransomware attacks above on the biggest pipeline or meat company show that your potential attackers are one step ahead. Businesses, big or small, are always the target of these cybercriminals. What damage does Ransomware cause? It is emerging as the biggest question and posing threats to organizations.

Most US-based businesses are predominantly facing the threat of Ransomware. The current Ransomware attacks encrypt files on the company’s database. Crypto Ransomware and Locker Ransomware both blocks access to the users’ files. To unlock, a ransom ranging from $200 to $3,000 in Bitcoin is demanded or in the form of gift cards. These Ransomware breaches happen on the victim’s computer, phone devices, or both.

Moreover, Ransomware is not only dangerous but a costly risky affair too. So, what are the risks of Ransomware? Let me elaborate to help you acknowledge its risks.

  • Clicking on a malicious link or an email in spam poses serious threats to computer data. The user engagement with these kinds of links sometimes proves infectious.
  • The Distribution Denial of Service attacks is mostly propagating. One variant targeted to the user’s computer will delete the files whether the payment is made or not. Another variant will lock you out of the cloud-based data. Even a variant can sabotage the data of IoT devices and mobile devices.
  • Revenue loss is the biggest risk business organizations face. A few victims’ brands state that their reputation has been severely compromised.
  • Almost 26% of companies have to close their businesses because of malicious attacks.
  • A flaw in the organization’s network set-up can give access to the bag guys out there. So, organizations must upgrade their systems and check every time for potential updates.

An organization’s cyber security personnel must understand that “One single vulnerability is what an attacker requires. It is necessary to protect, detect, and respond swiftly.

Is Ransomware the most Dangerous Malware?

While reading this guide or the stuff on the internet, a thought must have crossed your mind, is Ransomware the most dangerous? Yes, it is the most hazardous malicious attack ever happened in the cyber world’s history. It spreads rapidly through infected files, software, websites, or suspicious email attachments.

There are different types of malware threats that have made the survival of the internet world quite difficult. A few of these dangerous Ransomware threats are:

  • Windows O.S. Ransomware
  • Clop Ransomware
  • Agent Tesla
  • Shlayer Malware
  • RaaS
  • Fleeceware
  • Crypto Malware.

These malware threats have already posed a danger to many industries. Businesses have faced risks like data loss, financial loss, and other reputational damage. Most companies have to shut down completely, and still, few brands and apex agencies are looking forward to ways to curb this deadly menace.

Which Antivirus Can Remove The Ransomware?

I believe antivirus carries out a huge task of removing unwanted malware from organizations’ or individuals’ computers or phone devices. The best protection and antivirus tool can remove Ransomware without damaging your device’s files.

The best Ransomware protection software increases the cybersecurity of an organization’s manifold. These tools will help in averting any attack, but it is necessary to keep a check on the infection before it spreads like wildfireWhich antivirus can remove Ransomware? If you are searching for the answer for the same, here is the list I can best compile for you.

  • Avast Antivirus
  • AVG Antivirus
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus
  • Spyware Scanner
  • Thor Premium Home
  • Kaspersky
  • Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Protection

Many more anti-Ransomware protection tools are also available online, but here are the best ones you can purchase and install with a private key. It is necessary to run anti-malware tools to check out for malicious content or files. All these Ransomware tools protect Windows and Mac devices from potential malware. The best part is a few of them comes power-packed with expert-level antivirus usage. They have the power to remove malicious content without any hassle.

What Happens If You Get Ransomware In Your Device?

What happens if you get Ransomware? Well, we all panic instantly! No need to develop a fear or fall prey to ransom-asking messages. Be calm! I have your back here too. There are several ways through which a user can take control of their Windows system to decrypt and get access to their computer again.

A few significant ways include:

  • Isolate your device from the whole network so that it can stop the spread of malware infection. By minimizing the infection’s spread, you can safeguard your devices easily.
  • Never pay the ransom, as it encourages the preparators more. I suggest reporting the matter immediately to the cyber security cell. Moreover, the FBI takes care of the ransom demands put up by cybercriminals. However, a few organizations have fallen to the ransom demands and paid too. A few companies have never got their files decrypted, even after paying the ransom. A piece of advice is always to report to your state’s federal agency.
  • Always record the important details after the attack has been initiated. It will help you to make a detailed report to the cyber cell. Record everything from new file extensions to ransom notes and other things. The same will help in getting the insurance.
  • Call the investigators to analyze the malware that has infected your computer. Quarantine the Ransomware that will help locate the strain’s exact emergence. Well, expecting the removal of the entire infection can be a little difficult to find the exact Ransomware sample.

Most Ransomware attacks happen because of phishing emails. Stay vigilant when operating over the internet. Never open any link which seems suspicious. A lucrative email or an Ad also carries potential threats. So, keep away from vulnerabilities as much as you can.

How Quickly Does Ransomware Work?

Do you want to know the precise time? Here is the right time: 42 minutes and 54 seconds

Yes, you heard it correctly. It is how quickly the median Ransomware variant spreads across the whole network and knocks out the victim from their computer. How do the experts come to know this exact time? Well, they analyzed the ten biggest Ransomware strains of all time in their computer labs. These malware strains can encrypt 100,000 files, including 53.93 Gigabytes of data. The Ransomware that spreads quickly out of all the Ransomware types is the Lockbit. It spreads 86% faster than other medians.

Other Ransomware that spreads quickly to the computer network includes Blackmatter, REvil, Ryuk, Conti, Babuk, Avaddon, Maize, Darkside, and Mespinoza. The test results showcase that a grave amount of devastation can be caused in a short period. Within three seconds of Ransomware’s entry, it starts working and encrypts your files. Several destructive tasks will start, and you will be incapable of doing anything.

Important Ways To Protect Yourself Against Ransomware

What can you do to protect yourself? If Ransomware hits you at any point, there are a few simple and calm ways for protection.

  • Always maintain updated antivirus software.
  • Scan the software before downloading them from the internet.
  • If you find any email or attachment suspicious, delete it immediately.
  • Crypto locker Ransomware will change the extension files into the execution files. The known file extension will hide automatically. If you notice this, make sure to run the antivirus scan immediately.
  • Do not run .EXE Files. These are suspicious files that can interrupt your programs. The organizations can create a policy for Windows and Mac. It will help allow the running of only stated files and will avert malicious files from running on your system.
  • Disconnect your system or any other device from the whole network immediately. Switch it off instantly, and disconnect from the internal network too. Call the respective law enforcement agencies to conduct the entire security check operation.

Mitigate The Risk Of Ransomware Infections In These Ways

How to mitigate the risk of Ransomware infections? After reading this guide, I know Ransomware’s challenges, and you would like to know how to mitigate the risk. Proper guidance and cyber experts help can secure an organization from potential threats and attacks.

I suggest the following to mitigate the risk of Ransomware infection:

  • Network segmentation will help segment the larger networks using virtual LANs, firewalls, and other techniques to avert the risk of malware. Internal apps and customer-facing services will be segregated to curb the Ransomware risk.
  • Be thoughtful about your data backups. It will help in recovering after the Ransomware attack. Organizations and individuals can keep the unencrypted version on their cloud.
  • Filter the file types or your device if the Ransomware has caused the full-fledged infection. Actively inspect all kinds of warnings your antivirus is providing. It is better to back up important data and shut down your P.C. or Laptop. Disconnect from the whole network.
  • An advanced endpoint security solution will help you to catch phishing attacks and works with antivirus software. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning provide this high-end endpoint security.

I hope this guide has helped you to understand why Ransomware is dangerous and difficult to stop. Implement security policies and use two-factor authentication. This is what you can do to protect yourself. Get cyber insurance to secure your devices from any hassle.

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