Did you know 37% of businesses and organizations encountered ransomware attacks in 2021? What's more, recovering from these breaches cost them an average of $1.85 million (yikes!). For these reasons, you can likely imagine ransomware protection is more crucial than ever in business operations.
By understanding the different ransomware types and implementing proper security measures, you don't have to become part of these alarming statistics. Dive into this handy guide to learn about ransomware attacks and how you can stand your digital ground.
What in the World Are Ransomware Attacks?
The phrase “ransomware attack” sounds intimidating — and truthfully, it can be. Ransomware is malicious software — or malware — cybercriminals use to infect a network or computer. It encrypts data or blocks the victim from accessing the system.
Here's the kicker — the cybercriminal then demands ransom money from the victim in exchange for releasing the hijacked data. Malware attack victims typically have three options after a data breach. They can either pay the ransom, attempt to remove the ransomware or restart the device.
However, experts strongly discourage rebooting a computer after a malware infection. In some cases, this can help the ransomware. A reboot may restart a crashed-file encryption process, potentially losing in-memory stored encryption keys.
Individuals and companies alike can fall victim to malware attacks. Ransomware often spreads through phishing emails with malicious attachments or drive-by downloading, an unintentional malware download from an infected website. Defending your business from ransomware attacks requires extreme vigilance and high-quality solutions.
5 Ransomware Types to Avoid
Now that you have a general idea of what ransomware is and how it works, let's go over some specific types you can recognize and steer clear of.
1. Crypto Ransomware
One of the most common and damaging variants, crypto ransomware encrypts data, files, pictures, videos and documents. However, it doesn't compromise the device's essential functions.
As you can imagine, this can spark some panic and confusion, as the user can view their files but can't access them. Cybercriminals often accompany their ransom demand with a countdown and message, such as “Pay your ransom by the deadline, or we will erase all your files.” It sounds like a movie scenario, but you'd be surprised how often it happens in real life.
Here's where having online backup or external physical storage devices comes in handy. People who don't have these resources, or aren't aware of how vital they are, often end up paying to retrieve their files.
2. Locker Ransomware
Locker ransomware blocks fundamental computer functions and locks people out of their system. For instance, it may deny desktop access while partially disabling the keyboard and mouse.
In most cases, locker ransomware victims can only view the lock screen or interact with the window containing the ransom demand to make the payment. Other than that, the device is usually inoperable. A timer and deadline may also display to urge the user to pay up.
However, there is some good news. Locker malware doesn't generally target critical files or destroy data — it merely keeps you from accessing them. Therefore, there's a slim chance of total data destruction. Of course, it's still critical to prevent these attacks when possible.
Cyberattackers use scareware to spook users by displaying an alarming message, consequently tricking them into downloading ransomware. They use pop-up prompts or buttons that appear legitimate or official with messages such as:
- “Your PC is slow. Speed it up now.”
- “Warning! Five viruses detected!”
- “Attackers can see your IP! Protect it now.”
These messages compel the user to act fast without giving them time to consider legitimacy. Those who take the bait allow the malware to enter their device, encrypting their data or locking them out of the system. Some types of scareware flood the screen with pop-up alerts without damaging files.
Also called “doxware,” leakware threatens to release confidential company or personal data online. Leakware usually targets large nationwide entities and organizations like banks. Many users panic and pay the ransom to keep sensitive information from becoming public knowledge or falling into the wrong hands.
5. Ransomware as a Service
RaaS uses a business-like model to perform ransomware attacks. It operates like an affiliate network, allowing cybercriminals with minimal technical knowledge to subscribe to the RaaS platform and launch malware attacks.
A “ransomware author” — aka, the brains behind the operation — offers RaaS as a pay-per-use service, renting access to perpetrators as subscriptions. They handle all aspects of the attack, including malware distribution, ransom payment collection and access restoration. Affiliate members receive a cut of the loot under previously agreed-upon terms.
Remember, scareware, leakware and RaaS are essentially locker and crypto ransomware variants.
Protect Your Business From Ransomware With Eden Data
We've described various types of ransomware to watch out for, but what can you do to safeguard your business? We're glad you asked!
At Eden Data, our monthly subscription-based security teams build and manage programs for startup companies. We can handle every aspect of your security system, from data protection to compliance readiness, while you focus on other business growth areas.
You can skip the hassle of hiring an in-house team, because we take care of it all! Our comprehensive services include the following.
- Security: Our seasoned squad can identify and eliminate significant risk areas across your entire IT environment, building a custom strategy to secure your most sensitive data.
- Compliance: We can help boost your brand's image by achieving compliance with HIPAA, CCPA, SOC 2, ISO 27001 and other confusing acronyms you likely don't want to deal with.
- Privacy: Preserving your customers' data is as crucial as protecting yours, though you probably knew that already. Because we care about them as much as you do, we'll help you show your clients that you value their privacy by safeguarding your confidential data. That way, you can do right by those you serve.
Talk to Us About Ransomware Protection Services Today
A ransomware attack is one of the last things you want to encounter. Fortunately, we know a thing or two about malware protection at Eden Data. We'll custom-tailor your security solution to fit your business' needs, and you never have to worry about surprise fees with our flexible, fixed-cost subscription model.
If you want to enjoy maximized value without hiring full-time security professionals, our team has your back. Shoot us a message or jump on a call with one of our gurus to learn more about our services today!