You may have heard the term ransomware a lot these days on the Internet or amongst IT professionals, but do you What is Ransomware?

So what is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware which prevents access to your files and documents, or even to your entire systems until a sum of money is paid to the attackers. Your documents and systems are essentially held hostage by cyber-criminals demanding payment, usually in BitCoins.

This is a an extremely effective and direct attack for cybercriminals and is why we are seeing so many ransomware attacks occurring recently against individuals and businesses.

The important thing to note is that payment does not guarantee you getting back access to your files or systems and should be discouraged. While there have been instances where it has worked, it encourages cybercriminals and gives credence to continue their attacks. In the event that it does work, it may actually put you at even more risk with the attackers now knowing that you are an easy target that will pay.

Types of ransomware

The most common form of ransomware that we see is the encrypting ransomware. This is now one of the biggest cyber security issues globally. Once executed on a victim’s computer or network it sweeps through files and encrypts them using a key that only the attackers possess and is far too complex to simply break. Users may notice that the extension or filename of their documents has changed and they are unable to access them. Trying to open them usually loads a message from the attackers and instructions to make payment of the ransom.

The other but less common form of ransomware prevents you accessing your computer entirely, usually displaying a full screen message notifying you that you have been attacked and providing instructions for ransom payment. You will not be able to access your files, applications, or the operating system at all.

What can I do?

There are hundreds of different types and variants of ransomware out there, and they are changing and evolving constantly. Almost all of them are virtually unbreakable and irreversible once they have carried out their attack.

The best way to stop ransomware is to prevent an attack in the first place. However in the event that you are attacked, you need to be prepared. Through effective IT strategies there are many ways to minimise the risk of attack and plan for the event of a disaster.

Further reading: Ransomware: What your business needs to know

Worried about Ransomware?
Speak to the experienced team at Stanfield IT on 1300 910 333