The recent well-publicised WannaCry global cyberattack is believed to be the largest so far, infecting over 200,000 computers across 150 countries with ransomware.
As previously reported by many news outlets (and subsequently on this blog), ransomware is big business, and incidents have increased dramatically over the past few years. It is estimated that victims are paying millions of dollars each year, a practice generally discouraged by experts as it encourages further ransom and often does not result in decrypted data. And it’s not just hitting computers – mobile phones are a popular target for hackers as well.
Ransomware has been around since 2005 and few now dispute the general consensus that it started in Russia. However, the introduction of ransom cryptware has given attackers a much more effective weapon – instead of merely locking a keyboard or computer, it uses an attacker’s unique key to encrypt files, giving them more control over the decryption process. The top three currently active ransomware practicioners are believed to be CryptoWall, CTB-Locker, and TorrentLocker – each with its own distinct MO.
While distributors of ransomware initially struggled with reliable payment methods, the advent of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies and untraceable digital payment systems has made their lives much easier.
Some basic cybersecurity awareness goes a long way toward preventing malware from getting a foothold in a system, but it’s not easy to guard against a ransomware attack. The best bet is to back up data regularly and store it on an offline device.
Read the full article for an in-depth look at ransomware: https://www.wired.com/2017/05/hacker-lexicon-guide-ransomware-scary-hack-thats-rise