RANSOMWARE HAS BECOME A NIGHTMARE FOR CYBER SECURITY

You’ve probably heard the phrase “ransomware” and have seen used it in headlines. So what exactly is ransomware? It’s just as it sounds—a cyber ransom. A type of malware, aka “malicious software”, ransomware has become a nightmare for cyber security.

From individuals to Fortune 500 companies, ransomware can spread through computers and networks with a simple click of the mouse or a type of the finger. Once the intended target has become infected, the ransomware blocks access to the system, and can even encrypt data and renderer it unusable. It can also be used to steal sensitive materials.

Once the malware does its job, that’s when cyber criminals demand a ransom. Whether it’s demanding money for granting access to your device or for data decryption, ransomware is a type of cyber extortion that is costing billions of dollars in damages every year. And it’s only getting worse.

If you’re a Jacksonville business and are concerned about your ability to protect your investments, it’s important to know what you’re up against. Below are the two main types of ransomware you should be on the lookout for. If your Jacksonville business or organization is targeted, it can lead to loss of important information and finances, disruption of operations and cause harm to your reputation.

CRYPTO RANSOMWARE

Crypto ransomware uses sophisticated software to infiltrate your computer, phone or network and encrypts valuable data, keeping you from accessing it. Some cyber criminals will threaten to encrypt files, and just use the threat to extort money. In both cases, the cyber criminals do not try to remain subtle or hidden, but instead display threatening messages to incite fear and panic. This makes it more likely that an individual or company will pay the ransom.

Crypto ransomware is often disseminated through fake emails that contain malicious links and attachments. Simply opening the email will not harm you. But clicking on a link or opening an attachment can start the infection process.

LOCKER RANSOMWARE

Unlike crypto ransomware, Locker ransomware doesn’t encrypt your files. Instead, it literally locks users out of their computers, tablets and mobile devices. This can be done by preventing password access and disabling or limiting the use of key computer parts, such as the mouse and keyboard. Messages will appear on your device, often in the form of a fake FBI message, demanding money in order to unlock it.

Locker ransomware is often spread through emails containing infected links and attachments. Both locker and crypto ransomware can also be spread via malicious social media messages, phone texts and “drive-by downloading,” which occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website.

Being very cautious of suspicious emails, messages and websites, and using advanced cyber security, is the surest way to protect your Jacksonville business or organization from ransomware. Stop ransomware from becoming a nightmare for cyber security. If you’re the victim of a cyber attack or want to protect yourself from hackers, call the cyber security pros at Workforce IT of Jacksonville today. 904.638.8406.