The rise of ransomware

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Olivia Storey

Ransomware isn’t a new form of malware, but we have seen a large rise in attacks in the past few years.

Ransomware is a growing threat, with some huge attacks in the past year alone; including WannaCry, EternalBlue, and Petya, which had an incredible knock on effect on the NHS, FedEx and Telefónica, to name a few.

Anyone could be a potential target, as ransomware attacks offer criminals a high return on investment; unknowing and unsuspecting victims may consider paying the ransom the only option.

With the growth and popularity of mobile devices, cyber criminals are keen to keep up with the trend, meaning even your mobile devices are not immune to the growing threat of ransomware.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, discusses ransomware threats and how to be more vigilant in protecting your devices.

“Ransomware is definitely a tactic that works.

“All malware will have good and bad results, and unlike ransomware, often the public voice is never heard.

“If a ‘normal’ piece of malware is successful and manages to infect someone, either a few hours of hard work or a call into a support company will have you back on your feet.

“Even if it takes a day or few days to get everything clean, it very rarely makes the headlines, but when ransomware hits it’s crippling.

“Often there seems only one way out and people will still pay the criminals thinking they are guaranteed to get their files back.

“The clue was in the last sentence: criminals. They have clearly defined their moral stance, and there is no refund to be had when you don’t get your goods.

The only 100% recovery process is a backup.

“Once ransomware has a hold and your files are encrypted, a good tested backup WILL get your system back.

“Other processes include: email and internet training for staff on stopping the scam or phishing emails getting a hold in the first place, network or traffic analysers, threat intelligence, good patching and update strategies, and a good regular updating internet security product.”

Do you have a procedure in place in the event of a ransomware attack? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.

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