Ransomware has become infamous in the past few years, largely due to its involvement in a growing number of cyberattacks during this time. Of course, not all ransomware works in the same way, and recognizing the difference could prove to be useful. Therefore, we’ve taken a few moments and assembled a brief description of the four most common ransomware varieties.
Scareware earns its name by relying on scare tactics to snare its victims. Often posing as some kind of antivirus, a scareware program might warn the target that there are issues present on the device that require payment to resolve. Depending on who you ask, scareware isn’t always considered a form of ransomware, but the reliance on fear to coerce action from a victim is certainly a common thread between the two.
This variety of ransomware effectively bars you from accessing a system, leaving the files untouched but preventing you from doing anything (with the exception of paying the demanded ransom). In many ways, this is similar to the variety of ransomware that most will likely be familiar with: crypto ransomware.
While locker ransomware prevents you from accessing your files by blocking you out of the system, crypto ransomware goes so far as to encrypt the files themselves. Once you have lost access, you are given a deadline to pay up by, or your files will be permanently deleted. Short of restoring your systems from a backup, there is no real sure-fire way to recover from this. After all, there is no guarantee that the party responsible for infecting you will restore your access, even if you were to pay.
Also known as “doxware,” extortionware works in a very similar way to a crypto ransomware–once a system is infected, the files on it are encrypted and the user is given the attacker’s demands. However, there is one key difference: rather than deleting files, extortionware threatens to share personal details out. This gives targets a much different, but no less effective, motivation to comply with the aforementioned demands.
What Can You Do?
To protect your business from ransomware, you and your team need to keep the following best practices in mind:
- Backup your data – This acts as an insurance policy, in the event that a ransomware attack was to slip past your defenses.
- Keep your software updated – Many ransomware titles use exploits in your operating system in order to take root. Keeping your solutions patched and updated minimizes these weak points.
- Educate your team – Make sure that your team is well aware of what to look out for to identify ransomware, and that they know how to handle it when they do encounter some.
Remember, ransomware is exploitative and so will take the low road in order to accomplish its objective. A very new locker ransomware, known as CovidLock, has recently been distributed to Android devices through a malicious coronavirus tracking application.
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