Ransomware is the simplest type of cyber attack and, at the same time, the most effective in the world. It is the technological terror of the last decade, both for users and for large corporations. Experts warn of its increase and predict that in the coming years the problem will continue to grow more.
Only in the last few weeks have waves of ransomware attacks been detected against some 30 companies, some of them belonging to the list of Fortune 500. The threat has been detected by Symantec, a division of Broadcom that ensures that the number of victims of these attacks can be greater in a short time, proof of the level of range this type of cyber attack is reaching.
Ransomware consists of encrypting or encrypt some or all files and data that a user has on a device or that a large company stores within its infrastructure. A message alerts victims that they have been attacked and instructs them to retrieve that vital content for them; in most cases, they must pay a large sum of money before a period of time in order to regain access to their most valuable files.
The files are still there, but you cannot access them. 2019 was the most tarnished year for ransomware, no one is spared from these attacks, even public institutions may be affected. Last year the Kaspersky security company accounted for some 174 municipalities affected by this attack, mainly in the United States, in which case they even had to go to the FBI.
2020 is not lagging behind. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the fear of COVID-19 to deceive and attack users through bogus apps that camouflage themselves under pandemic tracking tools. On the other hand, we find that these waves of attacks on a large number of companies are perpetrated by a group calling itself Evil Corp. If these attacks had not been detected and blocked they could have cost millions of damages.
Some media outlets such as The New York Times link the group of cybercriminals as a retaliation directed against the Government of the United States after the Justice Department accused its leaders of different crimes against computer security.
His method of action is very varied, his attacks are based on the WastedLocker ransomware (Ransom.WastedLocker), but most start by doing a phishing attackFor example, posing as a potential customer to request a trial license for a security product.
Such attacks are the norm today and will continue to be so for years to come. According to experts, the global damages that these attacks can cause, including the company’s bailouts and losses due to inactivity, can reach $ 20 billion by 2021, 57 times more than in 2015.
How to protect yourself from ransomware
To protect against these attacks, three fundamental aspects are recommended. Both private users and governments and large multinationals must prepare to avoid these attacks and, in the worst case, know how to act once they are victims of one of them. Take it for granted that it will ever happen to us it is the best way to fight these crimes.
To start, we must enhance the computer education, whether you are an individual or if you are in charge of employees of a public or private company. A 2015 PWC survey ensures that employees are the easiest entry for cybercriminals into company archives. Do not open suspicious emails, do not enter any unknown web page, do not install unknown tools or apps … those are just the first steps.
Then it is important to have a good protection infrastructure, a secure barrier for companies that serves as a protection wall against invaders. Ultimately, as we said before, have a strong plan of action in case the attack occursThe ideal is to pose it as if it were an anti-fire protocol.