The news is full of stories about companies and organizations being targeted by ransomware, a type of malware. Ransomware infects a victim’s computer, device, or network then locks or encrypts data. The cybercriminals behind the ransomware then demand the victim pay, usually within a certain time frame, or risk permanently losing their data or having it made public. According to Emsisoft’s Q1 and Q2 2020, last year, ransomware attacks against U.S. government, healthcare, and educational organizations cost those organizations $7.5 billion. (For more information on ransomware, read Technical Update no. 40 - Ransomware.)
Ransomware falls into two general categories: crypto and locker. Crypto ransomware is a malware that encrypts valuable data on a network or device so that the user cannot access the data. Locker ransomware does not encrypt data; instead, it locks the user out of the computer or device entirely. There are numerous types of ransomware. Two common ones are listed below:
Cerber – A kind of crypto-ransomware, Cerber targets cloud-based Office 365 users and is spread via a phishing campaign. (For more information on phishing, read Technical Update no. 74 – Phishing: What you Need to Know.) Cerber comes in 12 different languages and has been deployed by large cybercrime networks across the globe. So far, it has impacted millions of people.
CryLocker – As the name suggests, CryLocker is locker ransomware. It crawls through a victim’s computer and finds personal information such as their name, birthday, location, Facebook profile, IP address, etc. to generate a ransom note demanding payment within 24 hours.
Ransomware is big business for cybercriminals and isn’t going away anytime soon; however, there are steps you can take to protect your organization.
As many people continue to work from home, it is vital to set and maintain good network security practices. Like burglars, cybercriminals tend to go after easy targets. Implement strong network security practices to make your organization an unattractive target. For more information on ransomware, contact CTSI at (303) 861 0507.
A PDF of this Technical Update is available here.
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