Definition of Ransomware
Ransomware is a form of malicious software (or malware) that, once it’s taken over your computer, threatens you with harm, usually by denying you access to your data. The attacker demands a ransom from the victim, promising to restore access to the data upon payment. All the files remain very much on your computer, but they are encrypted so that you can not read them. Users are shown instructions for how to pay a fee to get the decryption key. The costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, payable to cybercriminals in Bitcoin.
Techopedia definition -Ransomware is a type of malware program that infects, locks or takes control of a system and demands ransom to undo it. Ransomware attacks and infects a computer with the intention of extorting money from its owner.
Ransomware may also be referred to as a crypto-virus, crypto-Trojan or crypto-worm.
Norton definition – The concept behind ransomware, a well-known form of malicious software, is quite simple: Lock and encrypt a victim’s computer data, then demand a ransom to restore access. In many cases, the victim must pay the cybercriminal within a set amount of time or risk losing access forever. And since we’re dealing with criminals here, paying the ransom doesn’t ensure access will be restored.
Type of Ransomware
1.LOCKER Ransomware-This is also known as computer locker. This ransomware doesn’t encrypt the files of the victim but instead, it denies access to the device. This locks the device’s user interface and then demands the victim for the ransom. This ransomware will leave the victim with very few capabilities such as allowing the victim just to communicate with the attacker and to pay the ransom.
2.CRYPTO Ransomware-This is a well-known form of ransomware and can cause a great deal of damage. Crypto ransomware is strong encryption against victims to deny them access to those files. Once the ransomware infiltrates the victim’s device, the malware silently identifies and encrypts valuable files. Only after successfully accessing to target files ransomware ask the user for a fee to access their files. Without the decryption key held by the attackers, or in some cases, a vendor decryption solution, the user loses access to the encrypted files. Crypto ransomware often includes a time limit. Some variants of crypto ransomware even provide users with a site to purchase Bitcoins and articles explaining the currency.
One of the most familiar examples is the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, which targeted thousands of computers around the world and spread itself within corporate networks globally.
3.Scareware- This is part of a class of malicious software that includes rogue security software, ransomware and other scam software that tricks users into believing their computer is infected with a virus, then suggests that they download and pay for fake antivirus software to remove it.
4. Leakware-Also called doxware threatens to publish your stolen information online if you don’t pay the ransom.
5. Ransomware as a Service-RaaS is a type of malware hosted anonymously by a hacker. These criminals handle everything from distributing the ransomware and collecting payments to managing the software that restores data access, in exchange for their cut of the ransom.
How ransomware is delivered
There are two ways, ransomware can take access of a computer
1. Email-One of the most common delivery systems is phishing spam, attachments that come to the victim in an email, pretending as a file they should trust. Once they’re downloaded and opened, they can take over the victim’s computer,
( Phishing is a method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive e-mails and websites )
2. exploit kits-They exploit security holes to infect computers without needing to trick users.
Protection from Ransomware
1. Keep your OS updated.
2.install an internet security suite.
3. Protect your accounts with complex, unique passwords.
4. Keep your personal information safe with firewalls.
5. Never download or install software from a source you don’t trust completely
6. Never open an attachment or run a program sent to you in an email from someone you don’t know.
7. Back up your files regularly
Remember these are basic precautions to protect devices from any type of malware.