In Circulent's latest issue of Technology Today, we sift through the good, the bad and the techy tidbits of ransomware. For those that don't know, ransomware is a venomous software designed to inhibit access to a computer system until a sum of money (Bitcoin) is paid.
We recently sat down with a Special Agent from the FBI to discuss how to safeguard one's self against these vicious attacks!
The most frequent way companies are infiltrated with ransomware is via phishing emails. Most often the emails embody generic characteristics - however, the FBI is now seeing emails that are targeted to both the organization and the individual. Making it even more important to identify!
TYPES OF RANSOMWARE ATTACKS
- Emails are the most common point of infection. Emails can contain virus ridden attachments, including PDF, DOC, XLS and EXE file extensions. The email will appear to be something you would inherently open, such as an invoice.
- Another way infection can occur is by receiving an email appearing to be authentic, from a known, trusted source, but is actually embedded with a link(s) that contains ransomware.
- According to the FBI's Cyber Division, "When the user opens the malicious file or link in the phishing email, the most frequent end result is the rapid encryption of files and folders containing business-critical information and data."
- A third and far less common form is when a hacker encrypts a commonly trusted site with malware. So, when users visit the page, they become infected - if they're using outdated browsers or browser plugins.*
Other than being on the lookout for cyber-attacks, how can you boost your protection? Outsource your IT to a professional that will install security software and monitor your priceless data 24/7, 365!
We urge you to note that if you don't have an in-house or outsourced tech team to advise you, know the FBI does NOT advocate paying a ransom to an adversary.* Why you may ask ? Paying said ransom does NOT guarantee that you will actually be granted ACCESS to your data again!