Defining Ransomware & How To Avoid It

On the hunt for the best ransomware protection? Many people have been there before. You’re minding your business browsing online, listening to music, and in the zone. Whether you work in an office or at home, the sights and sounds of a ransomware attack are jolting. The window on your screen suddenly shows a pop-up you’ve never seen before. Or perhaps your screen begins to go dark before you receive a single message. As soon as your eyes scan it, you realize what’s happening. Your computer is under attack. Furthermore, there are no preparations in place! You weren’t even aware you were vulnerable to an attack. Aside from taking preventive measures as soon as possible, it helps to understand what exactly ransomware is and how to avoid it. Safeguard your business from ransomware attacks with the techs who know best. Contact Waterdog Computer Works today.

Identifying & Preventing Ransomware Attacks

Your business computer contains a ton of sensitive information. You might not realize how much data is on your computer. But you better believe that if a hacker can breach its security, all of that information is up for grabs. Here’s how to point out ransomware, ways to avoid it, and the top 8 most commonly used ransomware out there.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware or malicious software. It prevents you from logging in or booting up your computer and demands payment to regain access. Part of ransomware’s design is to encrypt or lock your files. Attackers will threaten to destroy them until you pay with bitcoin, credit, or debit card. Most ransomware spreads through several tricky tactics like: 
  • Phishing emails
  • Authentic-looking websites
  • Attachments and other downloadables
  • Social media
  • Instant messaging apps
  • And third-party software installations
If you ever notice anything suspicious while online, it’s best to exit out of questionable content and run a safety scan. As soon as your attackers lock you out, it takes a lot of effort to get back in and solve the problem entirely. One thing you should never do is give in to an attack and pay the ransom.

Who Experiences Ransomware Attacks?

Government entities and large organizations are ideal targets for cybercriminals. For example, CNA Financial, Universal Health Services, Acer, and even the FBI are all victims of ransomware attacks. What’s the largest payment ever demanded in these attacks? The FBI was asked to pay $70 million to get data back. Coming in second is Universal Health Services, with a ransom demand of $67 million. Unfortunately, large institutions aren’t the only targets of ransomware attacks. 70% of service providers say ransomware is the largest cybersecurity threat to small businesses. Yet, many small businesses think they’re not a likely target for ransomware attacks.

What’s The Best Ransomware Protection?

All businesses and individuals should have some form of ransomware protection on all tech devices. The best ransomware protection should be end-to-end, meaning it safeguards every entry point possible so attackers can’t get in. With Waterdog Computer Works, you get the following protection for your business:
  • Firewalls
  • Dark web protection
  • Email security
  • Endpoint security
  • Risk assessments
  • Security awareness training
  • And data backup
Furthermore, the cost of your company’s downtime vastly outweighs the cost of most ransoms. On average, downtime costs small businesses nearly 50 times more than the ransom requested. Are you leaving your small or large company vulnerable to ransomware attacks? We can help.

5 Common Ransomware You Should Avoid At All Times

Take a look at the following most popular ransomware used by cybercriminals out there.

1. CryptoLocker

Introduced in 2013, this type of ransomware uses Trojan attacks that are activated by a user downloading or opening a contaminated file or email. It only attacks Microsoft Windows users and can even steal information on connected devices like USBs. CryptoLocker then asks for a ransom in exchange for the private key needed to get back in.

2. WannaCry

This ransomware crypto launched in 2017. Like CryptoLocker, WannaCry targets only Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also can spread from PC to PC, which gives it its other known name of “worm”. It then demands payment in Bitcoin to unlock personal or business files.

3. Cryptowall

Cryptowall made its entrance in 2014. It’s notorious for being extremely vicious ransomware. Cyber attackers like it because it’s cheap, spreads quickly, and is tough to detect and remove. It spreads widely through sketchy ads, phishing emails, and weaknesses in software like WordPress. Cryptowall adds new code to your computer, which starts up every time you reboot unless it’s fully removed. Additionally, it locks you out of all of your files and demands $1,000 in Bitcoin to get your information back. 

4. Locky

Launched in 2016, Locky is an email-distributed malware that attaches itself to Microsoft Word documents. It then uses malicious macros to lock up your files. Many of the emails containing Locky appear legitimate and mention unpaid invoices, billing, and other fear tactics to get you to pay up.

5. Emotet

Also known as Heodo, this particular ransomware was detected in Ukraine in 2014. It’s a banking Trojan designed to avoid some anti-malware products. Emotet is also widely spread through spam emails that look authentic and urgent. Infected website links and downloadables are used to steal financial information, passwords, and even allow ransom payments with wire transfers. It’s important to note that even if you pay the ransom on any type of ransomware, you aren’t guaranteed that your information will be returned to you. Moreover, there’s a good chance that your data is already sold.

Cybersecurity For Your Business With Multi-Layered Defenses

Protect your business from ransomware attacks, and preserve the legacy you’ve worked so hard to build. When you’re with Waterdog Computer Works, you get comprehensive cybersecurity solutions you can rely on. We’re proud to serve businesses throughout several counties in the Pennsylvania area, and we would love to hear about your cybersecurity concerns. Waterdog Computer Works has solutions to better protect your business online. Contact us today.