Ransomware, a term which combines the words “ransom” and “software”, is a computer virus which prevents users from accessing their networks or computer systems until a ransom is paid. This kind of attack effectively relies on human error, and the network extortionists “trick” users into activating this malicious software.
The rate of ransomware has tripled over the last 12 months, and some industries have seen an increase of more than 10-fold.
Ransomware attacks, and others like it, are expected to approach nearly 1 billion dollars in losses, according to the FBI. This is some very “scary” stuff and knowing what it is and how it happens can lessen the threat.
So here is how it works.
The virus itself is almost always embedded within an email, either as an HTML link or an attachment. Clicking on the embedded link or infected attachment will activate the virus. Once activated, all users are locked out of their machines, until such time as the ransom demand is paid. The virus encrypts the system’s data so that it is non-accessible. The information can then only be re-accessed using a private key that the criminals possess.
In order to pay the criminals, currency needs to be converted into the amount of ransom being sought, which is typically in the form of a Bitcoin. A Bitcoin is a digital currency that is highly used by Cyber criminals due to its ability to evade law enforcement.
Make sure your customers take these 5 simple steps, that can go a long way in keeping them safe:
- Do not click on attachments from sources you do not know.
- Do not click on suspicious or unusual attachments from sources you do know.
- Never click on any link embedded in an email from sources you do not know.
- Only click on a link embedded in an email from a source you know or if you are expecting it
- Always use the mouse to roll over any link embedded in an email to verify its url source and credibility
Let US Pro “treat” you to America’s best Cyber, D&O, and Professional Liability programs! Simply send us your submission to email@example.com today, and if you want to know a lot more about Cyber exposures, simply click on the Learn More link below. Don’t be “afraid”- it is a safe link!