The 6 Most Common Questions About Ransomware

Ransomware is a major security concern among both individuals and businesses today. With the frequency of ransomware attacks in recent years, it’s more important than ever to stay informed and protected. A single ransomware attack can lead to large amounts of compromised data and should be avoided through scrupulous protection methods. 

Let’s cover the most common questions about ransomware so that you can gather information about this significant cybersecurity threat. By taking a proactive approach to your cybersecurity, you can more effectively keep your data secure. 

Ransomware FAQs

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware designed to infiltrate victim’s computer systems and hold their data for ransom. Typically, the attacker will refuse to provide the decryption code until the victim pays a fee in Bitcoin, so that the payment can’t be traced. 

When Did Ransomware Start?

Ransomware attacks can be traced back to 1989, when Joseph Popp created the AIDS Trojan. This was the first ransomware virus to ever be identified, and it was distributed through a floppy disk. Popp distributed the disk, labeled “AIDS Information – Introductory Diskettes” to professionals at the AIDS conference of the World Health Organization. If the disk was inserted into a computer, the victim was ordered to pay $189 to the PC Cyborg Corporation. 

Ransomware attacks have largely grown in prominence since 1989, experiencing a spike in 2006 with other trojans. Ransomware remains a sizable threat to organizations, and cyberprotection is essential to neutralize this threat. 

How Can Cybercriminals Access My System To Launch Ransomware?

Cybercriminals use multiple methods to infect victims’ systems with malware. The most common methods include:

  • Phishing email campaigns
  • Social engineering
  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
  • Open ports on the Internet

The most common way for hackers currently to gain control of a computer system is to first send out a phishing email. Once the link in the phishing email is opened, the hacker will use RDP credentials to access the machine from inside of the network. Since RDP credentials are incredibly inexpensive on the dark web, this is one of the most attainable methods for hackers to access computer systems. 

Is It Possible For a Ransomware Attack To Spread Across a Network?

As is the case with any type of virus attack, ransomware can spread across a computer network. In this process, the ransomware can affect and close off vulnerable network servers and other endpoints. The goal of a ransomware attack is to cause as much damage as possible, so it’s always created to seek out links to other computer systems. The ability to spread across a network is one of the reasons why ransomware is so dangerous for organizations and can lead to a high amount of compromised data. 

How Can You Identify a Ransomware Attack Expanding Across a Network?

Ransomware attacks begin on one computer, then usually spread out sideways using connected drives. The attack will affect as many networks as possible and the spread is completed automatically. 

Sometimes, a hacker will utilize credentials obtained from an administrative account, such as an active domain controller. Once the hacker has gotten into the systems, they’ll have a look around to see what they can find. Usually, a high volume of sensitive data can be found on the system, including financial information. Once the target has a sense of the victim’s financial standing, they’ll use the information to gain an upper hand in the attack.   

Is It Possible To Remove Ransomware?

Once ransomware has infected your computer system, a factory reset would be required to remove the ransomware. This is far preferable to paying the ransom, even if doing so appears to be the more cost-effective solution. In paying the ransom, you’ll place a target on your organization for repeat attacks, as it informs hackers that you are a prime victim. 

So, rather than paying the ransom to remove the ransomware, work with Inletware to create a reliable response plan. We’ll help you isolate the attack and gather proper documentation on the attack. Professional help in your ransomware response will lower your risk for future attacks and ensure that your data is secured moving forward.   

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