Ransomware Is Top Malware Threat in 2020

What is it?

Ransomware is one of the types of dangerous malicious software that uses cryptology. It can be destructive because it threatens to publish the data of the victim, or completely block access to it unless the victim pays a set ransom.

What does it do?

Some of the simple ransomware families lock the system, which for a knowledgeable person is not that hard to reverse. On the other hand, more advanced malware uses the crypto extortion technique, where the malware encrypts the files and makes them inaccessible while demanding a ransom payment for their retrieval. In a complete and proper crypto extortion attack, recovering the files without a key is impossible. In addition, it is difficult to trace digital currencies like Ukash, Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies like these are most often used for the ransoms. Therefore, tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators behind the cybercrime is extremely difficult.


How does it operate?

Trojans usually carry out the ransomware attacks, disguised as legitimate files the user downloads or opens. They often come as email attachments. However, one example of this malicious software, known as the WannaCry worm, traveled automatically from one computer to another without any user interaction.

When did it start?

The first ransomware attack recorded took place in 1989. However, starting from around 2012, their volumes have grown around the globe. In total, there have been around 181.5 million ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018 alone, which is staggering. This is a 229% increase over the same period of the previous year, 2017. In June of 2013, McAfee released information that they had collected more than double the number of ransomware samples that quarter alone than they had in the same quarter in 2012.


Which viruses are the most dangerous?

There are and have been many ransomware types out there. CryptoLocker was a very successful example. Its authors managed to accumulate around the US $3 million before the authorities busted them. In addition, CryptoWall is thought to have gained the US $18 million by June of 2015, according to US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Now, arguably the worst one is the Gandcrab virus. Gandcrab 5.2 is the latest version of this nefarious malware. It encrypts files after which the criminals behind it try to extort money to recover them back to normal so that your computer goes back to its original operations. You can decrypt files locked by older versions of Gandcrab virus yourself, and there are threads online on how to do it. However, it is difficult and there is no guarantee you will get everything back. Gandcrab 5.2 is not decyptable for now.

Everything you need to Know About Ransomware

What I, out of the blue, the files on your laptop or computer become unusable? Every photo, music file, video, and financial documents, gone. How did that happen and what did you do to deserve that? Well, it is safe to say – welcome to the ransomware world. If you do not think twice about opening an email with an attachment or clicking a link in an email, you are a perfect target for a ransomware attack. In this article, you will be able to learn what is ransomware, as well as how to avoid it. Let’s take a look:

What is Ransomware?


As the name states, ransomware is intended to force to a payment (or ransom) by the person who is a victim of the attack. The attacker can use a wide range of methods – some of them mentioned above – to load ransomware on the victim’s computer or laptop. Usually, it will be “lock” or encrypt the files on the devices, hence, they cannot be accessed or used. The attacker will usually implement a message as a part of their attack, asking the victim for a fee to unlock the files. However, you should keep in mind that the payment does not guarantee that the files will be unlocked and in fact, if the victims show a willingness to pay the initial payment, the attacker might ask for an additional payment.

How Does Someone Stage a Ransomware Attack?


People who want to infect someone’s PC have a wide range of methods of doing so. One interesting fact about these tactics is that as long as they continue working, there is no reason to change them. And the more you know about the methods, the more you can do to protect your data. To succeed in a ransomware attack, the attacker needs to put the malware on the PC and have someone open, run, and execute it. One of the common ways is to put it in an email. You open the email, read it and then click on the attachment in it. Once you have opened it, it moves from the email onto your computer. Another common way is to include a link in the message and hoping that you click on it and in these cases, the link will take you to a website that will download the ransomware to your PC.

How to Help Avoid An Email Ransomware Attack

According to the experts from NOVA Computer Solutions, you should never open an email attachment or click on a link in the email unless you are 100 percent sure that it is from a safe source. Hacker can make emails look like it is from someone you know, hence, you will likely want to take action and click on it. However, if you were not expecting the email, it makes sense to double-check to ensure that it is legitimate.

How to Avoid a Ransomware Attack

There are various things that you can do to minimize the risk and here are a couple of recommendations to consider

  1. When it comes to an email, think twice, even if the message does look authentic. If you get an email with a link or attachment that you did not request or that you were not expecting, stop and think before you open it. A simple click can lead to an expensive disaster.


  1. Make sure that you have an OS that the manufacturer supports. Hence, you will know the company is making updates and patches that will additionally keep you protected. Also, make sure that you frequently update the patches and OS.


  1. Simply back it up. You have a lot of information on your data, hence, it makes sense to have a backup copy of the files. Even without an attack, your PC might simply stop working.


As you can see, a ransomware attack can lead to you losing money, as well as data. Hence, make sure that your PC is well protected, as well as that you do not open suspicious emails from sources that are not trusted.

How to Protect Your PC against Hackers

There are a lot of threats we face every day online and one of the biggest is hacking. This has not become a question if but when you will be hacked? The online world represents a vast market of information, available to anyone, so there is only a matter of interest when choosing the next person or company who is going to be hacked. Even if you don’t yet understand that your personal information, photographs, documents are exposed, you must take measures to protect them. You can isolate yourself from others and not use computers and other modern gadgets, but that is not a solution. We suggest a different approach which will inform you and prepare you for possible ransom-ware attacks.

In the past hackers were associated usually with politics and secret agencies, but today, you can find them in other spheres of life. While hacking is not necessarily bad, and hackers are hired to breach systems and point out flaws, here, we are talking about the other type of hacking – the illegal one. Ransom-ware is the classic example when a targeted company or a person PC has been hacked, and the personal information is locked. They will demand ransom for the availability of your data and threaten you with deleting or permanently closing your documents. Between the sea of options you can choose, the Zonealarm has proven its worth multiple times. But even with this alarm by your side, we have prepared a few tips to help you fight the problem before it occurs.

Img source: hackernoon.com

The first thing to keep your computer safe is to update your OS and other software regularly. The vulnerable outdated programs are an invitation for the hackers to come in, you can choose automatic update if it is more comfortable to your liking. Another way to protect your PC from the hackers is by enabling Microsoft product updates so that the Office Suite is updated simultaneously.

Implement two-step verification to protect your online accounts. The benefit of a two-step verification login into a requested service is the unique code that is sent to a device you opt for. From Gmail to Facebook, you have a dozen examples where this extra layer of security has brought results. Choosing for a time-based security code is a popular and practical option, a one-time code will be displayed on your phone or PC for 60 seconds after it expires a new one is provided to your named device.

Img source: information-age.com

Open Wi-Fi on your router represents a threat, avoid such a beginner’s mistake. The hackers can easily take your connection and download illegal files in a second away. Refreshing your equipment along with your password will guarantee the protection of your Wi-Fi.

The introduction of a third-party software must be from a recognizable and trusted source. The famous ads that wink your way must be avoided! Most probably, you are a step away from looking at a fake alert designed with suspicious software.

We have the only scratched the surface of the topic but hope that you have understood the message. Better safe than sorry, and with these tips above, you can start now.