Ransomware has created its own niche within the world of malware in the last decade, forcing savvy business owners to consider it as its own individual threat. This enlightenment came too slowly for some businesses the FBI reported business losses of $18 million in 2014 and 2015 attributable to ransomware. Many generic antivirus programs do not address the issue at all, which means that the virus checks you think are protecting you may have holes in them. Here are some of the latest trends in ransomware that you should know about.
The Latest Forms of Ransomware
- Teslacrypt — This ransomware targeted computers with game save files, another reason to watch personal activity strictly on business networks.
- Social Engineering — Cryptowall 3.0 (yes, ransomware comes in updated stages) used Google Drive to transmit different forms of malware to unsuspecting Google users. The files were spread using social media.
- Operation Kofer — This ransomware takes advantage of random generation technology to produce a slightly different version of the program to every target. These slight changes help Kofer avoid detection from sandbox antivirus packages.
- CTB Locker — Windows 10 users beware: CTB Locker takes advantage of your anticipation for many of the upgrades in the OS to send fake emails about Windows with poisoned ZIP files.
How Ransomware Continues to Evolve
Once solutions are found to the these issues, ransomware will continue to evolve and replace itself. The way to get ahead of the curve is to anticipate where the technology is going.
Ransomware is getting more brazen.
The latest ransomware campaign to go global, Chimera, extracts ransoms by threatening to expose the personal information of its victims. Businesses are still at risk, but ransomware purveyors seem to have a strategy of attacking people on a personal level. Keep your private information completely off the Internet if possible.
Ransomware is becoming a full supply chain.
Some criminals may begin to offer ransomware as a service, creating large-scale operations out of what used to be pockets of malicious activity. Before you put anyone in your supply chain, make sure they have some kind of insurance against digital infiltration. Also, make sure they have the real-time technology to find and remove ransomware.
Ransomware is not limited to PCs.
Android users are especially vulnerable to SimpleLocker ransomware. Hackers are attacking all operating systems today, not just PCs.
Ransomware developers will move into uncharted territory.
The business community is slowly becoming aware of the danger of ransomware, so expect criminals to move into other devices that are not so well protected. These new targets may include smart houses and TVs, even cars. Protect your personal computers with the same fervor that you protect your business computers.
How to Avoid Ransomware
Aside from these tips, here are a few other ways to avoid ransomware:
- Do not download any attachments or click any links in emails from people you do not know. Forget a blacklist; make a whitelist and vet everyone before you put them on it.
- Keep up with the latest updates for your desktops, especially if you are running a Windows OS.
- Go off-line while backing up systems.
- If you go to a website with a pop-up ad or an alert, do not respond to it at all. Close the page immediately and block that website from your browser so that you can never visit it again.
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