Ransomware is a type of computer malware that stops the user from accessing their files. It is used by cybercriminals to extort money from companies and individuals. The malware encrypts the files, making them nearly impossible to retrieve without the decryption key. A ‘lock screen’ or alert box will be displayed to the user demanding a ransom be paid for the files to be decrypted.
The cost of decryption is determined by the attacker, sometimes as low as a few hundred pounds and other times in the thousands. The local government of Jackson County, Georgia were hit by the Ryuk ransomware in March last year and handed over £330,000 to get their files back. The ransom is usually paid in Bitcoin (or similar cryptocurrency) which is favoured by cybercriminals due to its untraceability.
How Does It Work?
The malware can infect the victim's computer in a few ways. The most common is through email phishing scams. The malware will be hidden in an attachment or download that seems trustworthy such as an invoice or security update. Once the malware has been deposited on the computer it gets to work encrypting any files it has access to, on a computer without antivirus software it can do so with ease. Some forms of ransomware are self-spreading and can infect entire networks from a single point of weakness.
What Can be Done to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?
The first step in preventing an attack is to stop the malware infecting the computer or network entirely. Always be sceptical of email attachments and never click links or downloads from untrusted sources.
How Does Keep Stick Secure Your Data?
Keep Stick safeguards your files in multiple ways, first and foremost any executable files are blocked from making changes to the stick and it’s contents which stops malware before it can do any damage. All of your files and documents are automatically encrypted and stored offline on the stick meaning they can only be accessed by you, in the event of an attack on your network all of your sensitive data is safe. Find out how Keep Stick can benefit you!