As if getting locked out of your computer isn’t traumatic enough, how about if it’s a malicious software that has you locked out? Not only can you become forced out of your computer, a ransomware software can also make harmful threats to your device. These treats are scary because they can include loss of company data. Ransomware can also withhold access to your most sensitive information. To regain access, it can all come at a costly price. A cyber criminal can demand a ransom from their victim in exchange for a victim to regain access again to their data. But one must always question if the attacker is really being truthful or not. If all goes as planned and the cyber criminal follows through on their word, the victim will make a payment to obtain a decryption key. The costs of a decryption key can vary from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. This is payable to cyber criminals in a form of payment called Bitcoin.
In a world where technology is booming and always engaging with newer trends, sneaky cyber thieves are also growing more savvy by the minute. With the proper tools, these criminals have been able to help ransomware evolve and grow into several malicious strains.
Here are a few of the main ransomware strains you should know about.
It’s been noted that Locky is one of the more successful forms of ransomware. It has the strength to keep reappearing and each time it comes back, the strainer is stronger, smarter and more sneaky.
It’s been noted from PC World from IDG, “Locky is typically distributed via spam campaigns, as it appears to be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to deliver malware. Once a user follows the urgent request to download an “important” document and enables macros as asked in the message, they will immediately lose access to the contents of their computer and will be demanded to pay a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.”
Nonetheless, this strain is a pretty common form of ransomware. Users can fall easily for phishing scams and innocently open attachments with malicious intent.
A newer strain known as WannaCry is a malicious software that infected several tons of devices around the world. In addition, it also affected public utilities, telecommunication companies, banks, businesses, and even hospitals. In particular, the WannaCry software shut down important medical systems, sending those affected by this strain into disarray. Several patients lives were directly affected by this unsettling strain.
As stated in an article from PC World, “WannaCry targeted a flaw in Windows Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, using an NSA exploit called EternalBlue, which had been leaked just a month before the attack. Once it gained access to Windows computers, it encrypted users’ files before displaying a message demanding a ransom from $300 to $600 for the key to unlocking the data.”
Designed to appear to be a newer version of the Petya ransomware, this malicious software had shown itself to be a wiper worm with an intent to permanently remove users’ data instead of holding it hostage for a cost.
PC World shared, “The criminals behind this ransomware-like attack employed two previously leaked NSA exploits as well as credential-stealing tools to spread the worm across the network once a computer was infected. The way NotPetya reached Windows computers was via a compromised update for a widely used accounting tool, as well as phishing emails.”
A possible variant of Petya, Bad Rabbit is also a ransomware. It has malicious software that infects a users’ computer and cuts off user access to the machine infected with the ransomware. Access is restricted until the ransom is paid to unlock the device. What’s tricky about this malicious strain is it spreads through downloads. PC World shared, “A malware dropper was injected in some popular websites, patiently waiting for a user to download the malware, disguised as a legitimate Adobe Flash installer. After a victim installs the malicious file, they find themselves not being able to access their data. Instead, they are lead to a site with a ransom announcement, requesting to pay a certain amount of money within given time.”
This strain preyed on users who were likely not paying close attention to what type of download they were saving to their computer. With that said, it’s important to monitor your downloads, even if they are from sources such as an Adobe Flash installer. Strains can be tucked away ready to be unleashed to your computer upon one single download. And your most sensitive information can be lost and unsecured.
All in all, we can’t help express it enough the importance of practicing cyber security in and outside of the workplace. Learn the signs of a ransomware attack so you can stop the malicious software before it does any harm to your computer. Practice proper safety and watch out for emails that look suspicious. Lastly, be careful when downloading an attachment as this is yet another way a ransomware strain can be released into your computer system.
If you feel you may have picked up any of these ransomware strains discussed in this blog post, please contact your managed service provider at once. You can also reach out to us here at SDTEK as we have an experienced team of IT Techs ready to help fight against a cyber attack.