RANSOMWARE IS MALWARE that locks your keyboard or computer to prevent you from accessing your data until you pay a ransom, usually demanded in Bitcoin. The digital extortion racket is not new—it’s been around since about 2005, but attackers have greatly improved on the scheme with the development of ransom cryptware, which encrypts your files using a private key that only the attacker possesses, instead of simply locking your keyboard or computer. Most recently, a global cyberattack spread ransomware to countless computers over 150 countries.
And these days ransomware doesn’t just affect desktop machines or laptops; it also targets mobile phones. In 2015, ransomware in the wild masqueraded as a porn app.
According to Symantec, some of the first versions of ransomware that struck Russia displayed a pornographic image on the victim’s machine and demanded payment to remove it. The victim was instructed to make payments either through an SMS text message or by calling a premium rate phone number that would earn the attacker revenue.
The ransomware, also known as “WanaCryptor”, “WeCry”, “WanaCrypt” or “WeCrypt0r”, used a vulnerability in a Windows Server component to spread within corporate networks.
Recent Ransomware attacks
As ransomware cyber attack continues, more networks of Gujarat government came under attack on the second day with virus spreading in many districts where government office computers were infected with virus.
On Tuesday, computers in government offices in Bharuch, Amreli, Patan, Ahmedabad and Anand were found infected with ransonware, forcing the state authorities to start upgrading their systems and networks by installing anti virus softwares.
According to sources, various departments and agencies affected by the virus include the police stations, anti-corruption bureau network, collector offices, registrar offices, regional transport offices and civil hospitals in Gandhinagar and Godhara.
Online Bank Transactions are also very effected with this virus and government has said it is not secure to do online transactions for few days, till then they will install the security for malware on their systems.
Meanwhile, Ahmedabad crime branch had developed anti virus software which once installed in the network, protects all data and systems. The crime branch has also asked citizens to report any virus intrusion in their system, which can not only damage the networks but can also Security of financial transactions carried out digitally.
How to defend against the ransomware
- The vulnerability does not exist within Windows 10, the latest version of the software, but is present in all versions of Windows prior to that, dating back to Windows XP.
- As a result of Microsoft’s first patch, users of Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1 can easily protect themselves against the main route of infection by running Windows Update on their systems. In fact, fully updated systems were largely protected from WanaCryptor even before Friday, with many of those infected having chosen to delay installing the security updates.
- Users of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8 can defend against the ransomware by downloading the new patch from Windows.
- All users can further protect themselves by being wary of malicious email attachments, another major way through which the ransomware was spread.
- iPhone, you are also secured if you are using an iPhone. But Android is not safe.
More and more antivirus platforms, including Microsoft’s own Windows Defender, are now recognizing and blocking the malware, but relying on a purely technical fix means that a new variant of the software could sneak past the defences. Variations of the malware have already been seen in the wild, but they have lacked the capacity to spread themselves, which has vastly limited their proliferation.