What is Ransomware? Types & How to Prevent It
Computer networks are a relatively vulnerable world with Ransomware threats. Then what is Ransomware and why these objects can be very dangerous for computer users.
Ransomware is a type of malware attack sent by hackers to lock and encrypt the victim’s computer. Then, the hacker will ask for a ransom to restore access. More or less, that’s what Ransomware looks like in a simple way.
Although it looks simple, but actually how Ransomware works and the process of handling it is not simple. If you’re lucky, you can still regain access to your device. But if not, then say goodbye to the important data you have on the device.
Table of Contents
- What is Ransomware?
- How Ransomware Works
- Types of Ransomware in General
- How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks
What is Ransomware?
In recent times, you may have realized that ransomware is the most frightening threat especially for computer users. Ransomware is a type of malware that is very detrimental because it can encrypt the victim’s valuable data and information.
Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that works with encryption methods––processing data into code that cannot be read by the device. Thus, causing the victim to be unable to access the device before the data is decrypted––reprocessed from an encrypted form so that it can be read by the device.
In order to be able to decrypt data on a Ransomware-infected device, you will need a decryption code which will be offered by hackers for a ransom. If within a certain time you have not been able to decrypt the device, then the data on the device will be lost.
Read: 13 Types of Cybercrime, Stay Away from Them!
Of all the types of malware that exist, Ransomware is one of the most dangerous. Unlike other malware, Ransomware can mess up your device’s system until it becomes inoperable.
Apart from that, Ransomware also has properties that can spread and infect nearby devices. So, it is very dangerous if not treated immediately. This makes the process of handling Ransomware more difficult to do.
Launching the results of research by Osterman Research, almost 35% of the targets of the ransomware virus are important groups such as business managers, large corporate networks, to the government. Therefore, these groups usually have experts in the field of handling malware.
Although it tends to attack the upper middle class, it is possible that you can get this virus. So you still have to be careful in order to avoid various threats regarding Ransomware.
How Ransomware Works
Although it looks simple, but actually how Ransomware works is not simple. There are several stages that need to be passed before the ransomware will actually be able to infect your device.
After reading about what is Ransomware, you also need to know the stages of how it works. Generally, there are seven stages how Ransomware works to mess up the system on your device.
The first way Ransomware works is to infect the device that will be the victim. The downloaded Ransomware has accidentally started to silently install on your device.
Read: What is a Cybercrime and How to Protect Yourself from Them!
In certain cases, many computer users do not know if their device has been infected by Ransomware. Because sometimes the ransomware file is disguised or similar to other harmless files.
Once installed, Ransomware begins to scan and map the location of the file to be targeted. This malware can target files stored on local storage as well as cloud storage (cloud). In fact, some types of Ransomware can delete or encrypt backup files or folders.
At this stage, the Ransomware starts working by exchanging keys with the Command and Control Server, using the encryption key to scramble all files found in the Execution stage. This type of malware also locks access to data on the device so that it cannot be accessed by the user of the device.
After successfully taking over the data on your device, Ransomware will usually pop up a user notification containing information on the ransom that must be paid to get the decryption code.
After successfully encrypting the desired data, the Ransomware usually stops and deletes itself, leaving only the payment instructions file. Thus, the ransomware will become more difficult to identify.
If you choose to pay the ransom, you will be asked to follow instructions. Hackers usually use hidden TOR services to communicate to avoid being detected by network traffic monitoring.
After making the payment, the victim will get a decryption code to restore access to his device. Even so, paying the ransom is not recommended because there is no guarantee that your files or folders will return to the way they were before.
Types of Ransomware in General
After knowing about what is Bandwidth, you also need to know about the types of Ransomware. In general, here are some types of Ransomware that you need to know about.
1. Encrypting Ransomware
This type of ransomware infects devices by encrypting important files and folders on the victim’s device. After the target is successfully locked and encrypted, a notification will appear regarding the ransom that must be paid to reopen the locked data.
Read: 12 Types of Computer Viruses You Need to Get Rid of Right Now
Some examples of encryption Ransomware that are quite well known include WannaCry, CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, and Locky. Some of these Ransomware are very dangerous and feared by computer users.
2. Ransomware Locker
The next type of Ransomware is Locker Ransomware. This type of ransomware does not work by encrypting the victim’s files or folders, but locks the victim’s access to the device. Usually, the target of Locker Ransomware is to lock files or devices. But sometimes, this type of malware also targets the victim’s hardware such as a keyboard or mouse.
Locker Ransomware is a low-level annoyance that can still be handled simply by removing scripts, etc. So, the ransom paid for this type of malware is arguably less. Examples of this type of ransomware are Winlocker and Reveton.
3. Master Boot Record (MBR)
MBR ransomware is a type that can harm a victim’s computer hard drive. Master Boot Record generally attacks by doing a thorough encryption of the MBR on the hard drive so that it will interfere with the boot process.
4. Mobile device ransomware
Mobile device ransomware is an attack that primarily targets mobile devices, such as Android. Victims affected by this ransomware virus attack are usually less careful when surfing the internet or visiting fake websites.
5. Crypto ransomware
Crypto ransomware is a type of virus that will collect important documents on the victim’s device through a special network created by hackers. This ransomware generally focuses on encrypting files such as personal notes, as well as documents in the form of spreadsheets, PDFs and Words.
Scareware is a type of ransomware that will persistently demand a ransom from the victim. For example, if you see a pop-up message regarding a virus notification, then scareware will swiftly offer fake help just to demand a ransom from you. Worse yet, the pop-up message will not disappear until the victim pays the requested ransom.
Not only destroying or deleting, it turns out that there is also ransomware that limits the access of the original owner. This type of ransomware is called Doxware. This ransomware hacker usually threatens the victim that his party will spread sensitive and confidential information such as images, videos and the identity of the victim if they do not pay the ransom as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks
After knowing what is Ransomware and its types, you also need to know how to prevent ransomware attacks. This is so that the device you have remains safe and protected from the threat of dangerous viruses.
Read: What is Trojan and How to Keep Your Computer Save!
As additional information, here are some ways that can be used to prevent Ransomware attacks on devices:
1. Avoid Unsafe Internet Sites
One way that can be used to prevent ransomware attacks is to avoid unsafe internet sites. One indication of a secure site is already using an HTTPS-based connection or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure serves to secure data exchange that occurs on the internet by encrypting data. HTTPS guarantees your security when visiting HTTPS websites through 3 aspects: authentication, integrity, and encryption.
Visiting websites that use HTTPS will help you avoid hidden malware attacks. You can find out if a website is already using HTTPS by checking the URL of the website.
2. Avoid Suspicious Ads and Links
Malvertising or malware advertising is a method often used by hackers to spread malware, including Ransomware. You can accidentally click on an ad link, then without realizing it Ransomware has been installed on your device. For that, be careful if you see suspicious ads or links on the internet.
3. Avoid Downloading Files from Unofficial Sites
Just opening an unofficial site is dangerous enough, especially if you download and install something from that site. Files on unofficial sites are the most convenient place for Ransomware to hide and wait for victims to download it. Therefore, try to always download files from official sites that have guaranteed security.
4. Perform Regular Data Backups
The way Ransomware works is by encrypting data and threatening to delete it if the victim doesn’t pay the ransom. However, if you have a good data backup, of course it won’t be a big problem. This is the important reason why you should always back up data regularly.
5. Using Firewall and Antivirus
Firewalls and antiviruses are the most effective ways to prevent Ransomware attacks and other types of malware. Firewalls work by filtering out what data is accessed by the device when it is connected to the internet.
Read: What is Firewall: Definition, Types, and Functions
The firewall will also act like a wall that protects devices from data theft by hackers. However, firewall protection alone is not enough, and hackers will always be looking for loopholes to get into your device. For that, you must also install an antivirus to provide extra protection, especially from dangerous malware such as Ransomware.
Ransomware is a very dangerous object and can threaten data on a device or server. Because Ransomware can encrypt the data on the device so that users cannot access the data.
Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that works with encryption methods so that victims will have difficulty accessing their data.
The most important way to prevent Ransomware is to raise awareness of the importance of device security. You can start with safe internet and not open dangerous sites, and use a protected network.
That’s a complete discussion of what is Ransomware that you need to know. In this article, we have discussed in full the definition, how it works, types, and also how to prevent Ransomware attacks from occurring. Hopefully this article can be useful for readers.