Ransomware, a form of malicious software that threatens the user by taking over the access rights of data stored within the machine is known to hit major countries in the past five years. After taking charge over data, the attackers then ask the victim to pay ransom promising to restore access to data (which is not always restored upon payment).
The cost to decrypt data ranges from several hundred dollars to millions of pounds that have to be paid to the attackers in virtual currency, normally Bitcoin. The instruction on the payment of fee for getting the decryption key gets displayed on the victim’s computer screen.
One of the reasons behind the hysterical growth of Ransomware is the availability and existence of untraceable payment forms like Bitcoin.
How Ransomware works and how you should remove it?
The malicious software that has affected 99 countries including UK, US, Ukraine, Russia, India, China, Egypt, Italy among others is one of the fastest spreading viruses. The delivery system that transmits Ransomware to the computer is phishing spam- email attachment that takes over the control to victim’s computer, upon download and open.
NotPetya is an aggressive form of Ransomware that exploits the security policies without tricking the user.
Windows 10 Controlled Folder Access comes with anti-ransomware intrusion prevention features that prevents malware applications from modifying the contents of the protected files and folders saved on computer. Users can control the access rights to certain files and folders.
Controlled Folder Access works on “block everything by default” principle that theoretically prevents data loss upon ransomware attack.
One bitter truth is that cybercriminals tends to think 2X faster and antidote to security features is built usually faster. Although Windows 10 Controlled Folder Access provides exceptional security by encrypting user-defined folders; cybercriminals managed to find that the Office OLE objects can be used to bypass Controlled Folder Access security.
Guidelines to protect your system from Ransomware attack.
Ransomware hits the computer screen with no prior signs of destruction. It is so instantaneous that the user does not get time to think about preventive measure. But now, when the definition, functionality and the technical prospective of this malicious program is explained, it’s better to be prepared.
It is imperative to follow instructions that work towards preventing the precious data. Several steps or defensive measures can help prevent the entire data stored on the computer hard drive. Not only will these measures prevent your data against ransomware attacks, but also from other hazardous malware programs.
- Keep Windows operating system updated and patched. This ensures that the system is not vulnerable to security threats.
- Download and install a reliable anti-virus program capable to detect virus/ malware applications such as ransomware, the very moment they arrive.
- Set up a backup policy so that all your data is backed up automatically on regular intervals of time. Obviously, it will not prevent ransomware, but at least you can prevent a lot of data if its replica is available.
- Make it a habit to download software and applications from a reliable and trustworthy resource to prevent harmful components to enter complimentary.
However, in case of ransomware, the first line of defence is not to open any suspicious attachment that comes as a phishing spam inside an unknown email message. If you notice any such activity in your email folder, perform the following steps.
- Reboot Windows to safe mode
- Install efficient anti-malware application
- Scan the computer to find the location and presence of ransomware program
- Restore the system to the previous state
If you are fortunate enough, you may notice ransomware removed from the computer and you do not have to pay any ransom in order to gain access to your most crucial asset- data!