Ransomware

What is Ransomware and How to Prevent it.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware Alert: According to the New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell, Ransomware is poised to cause more disturbances and losses in 2017. Read full article.

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer system for ransom. Essentially, once the sum of money is paid, then the computer system can be restored. This is why we strongly encourage to back up your data.

Removing Ransomware

The best way to remove Ransomware is by continuously backing up your data. With Quikteks, we make sure your data is backed up regularly, providing you with a bulletproof backup. Unfortunately, unless you have a bulletproof backup or are willing to pay the extortionist the ransom, your files will be unrecoverable. However, the malware itself can be removed using Malwarebytes and some other computer security tools.

To remove the malware, download Malwarebytes Free Anti-Malware and run a complete scan. Once ransomware is detected, the tool will remove it. Because one instance of malware is often indicative of other infections, we highly recommend having a trusted computer security professional from Quikteks scrutinize, clean, and prevent your systems from future malware injections.

Preventing Ransomware and its Variants

Avoiding an infection is far preferable to paying a ransom or losing our data. With this in mind:

  • • Backup your data frequently. We recommend at least once per day.
  • • Because some threats are embedded in webpages, use content filtering for the web. This will prevent you from landing on malicious websites.
  • • Disable hidden file extensions in your operating system so that a ZIP.exe file will be properly identified and not mistaken for a .ZIP file.
  • • Make sure you have a current and bulletproof data backup. Speak with Quikteks about our Data Backup & Disaster Recovery Plan
  • • Treat emails with attachments with suspicion. Do you know the sender? Are you expecting an attachment?

Computer security experts recommend NOT paying the ransom as doing so supports the malware industry, making it profitable.

Here are some different variations of ransomware:

CryptoLocker – Cryptolocker is a type of ransomware that tricks users to download or open the malware. It typically shows up as email attachments or hyperlinks on various webpages. The attachment or link either opens or saves the infected file onto the computer, potentially infecting the rest of the network. Learn more.

CryptoWall – After the original CryptoLocker, CryptoWall gained notoriety. It first started in 2014, and other variants started popping up, including: Cryptorbit, CryptoDefense, CryptoWall 2.0 and CryptoWall 3.0, among others. Like CryptoLocker, CryptoWall is distributed via email attachments and malicious hyperlinks.

KeRanger– According to ArsTechnica, KeRanger ransomware was recently discovered on a popular BitTorrent client. KeRanger is not widely distributed at this point, but it is worth noting because it is known as the first fully functioning ransomware designed to lock Mac OS X applications.

LOL! – The .LOL! virus allows the remote hacker to create, delete, rename, copy, and edit any file, alter system settings, change the registry, terminate programs, and install other various software. Using this virus, the attacker can retrieve anything from buying history to sensitive user credentials and bank account details. In other words, you don’t want the .LOL! virus on your computer.

OMG! – Although this ransomware works similarly to other variants, the authors of the OMG! virus offer to decrypt the files for free after one month of infection. Nevertheless, this is not a position you’d like to be in.

CTB-Locker – CTB-Locker approaches ransomware differently. These hackers would outsource the infection process to partners in exchange for a percentage of the profits. In large volumes of infections, this seemed to be a proven strategy.

Locky– Relatively new to the ransomware community, Locky spreads it’s infection through email attachments disguised as an invoice. When the invoice is opened, it becomes scrambled, forcing the user to enable macros to read the attachment. Once macros is enabled, Locky starts to encrypt the file using AES encryption.

TeslaCrypt– TeslaCrypt is another new type of ransomware on the scene. Like most of the other examples here, it uses an AES algorithm to encrypt files. It is typically distributed via the Angler exploit kit specifically attacking Adobe vulnerabilities. Once a vulnerability is exploited, TeslaCrypt installs itself in the Microsoft temp folder.

TorrentLocker– TorrentLocker is typically distributed through spam email campaigns and is geographically targeted, with email messages delivered to specific regions. TorrentLocker is often referred to as CryptoLocker, and it uses an AES algorithm to encrypt file types. In addition to encoding files, it also collects email addresses from the victim’s address book to spread malware beyond the initially infected computer/network—this is unique to TorrentLocker.

Wanna Cry– This recent ransomware hit thousands of hospitals and private companies around the globe in May of 2017. Hospitals were forced to turn away patients as they did not have access to their databases. This malware spread like wildfire and is estimated to have sent out about 5 million phishing emails per hour.

If you are locked out of your computer due to ransomware, give us a call immediately at (973) 882-4644 for a free malware evaluation.

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