What is the most dangerous form of malware?
Our modern society thrives on the connectivity that was brought about in the internet age. These days it’s almost impossible to go without some form of device and a WiFi connection to go with it.
However, the convenience and ease that the internet age has brought us comes at a cost. As always, there are people out there who want to cause damage and commit crimes for their own benefit. They are known as cybercriminals, and they often use cyberattacks to cause harm.
One of the most common forms of cybercrime is the use of malware to infiltrate a victim’s devices. However, by far the most dangerous form of malware that exists is ransomware, and you want to avoid this type of malware at all costs. Read on to find out what ransomware is and how you can keep your devices protected against it.
What is malware?
Malware is short for malicious software. As the name suggests, malicious software is a type of program that has been designed to cause harm to your device in one way or another, so it should go without saying that you don’t want to find any malware on your device.
Malware comes in different forms, from viruses to spyware and ransomware. However, there are also others that are being developed each day by cybercriminals, so it’s important to keep up with the latest trends in cybercrime if you want to keep your devices secure.
Malware is man-made, and the cybercriminals that develop the software have full control over what it does to your device. It all depends on the hacker and what their intentions are when developing the software.
For example, a hacker might just want their malware to be annoying, so they will develop a virus that sends endless popup ads to your device, making it impossible to use it. Other hackers are more malicious though, and they can program a virus to delete files, steal your data, or even destroy your entire operating system.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that is extremely dangerous. In fact, it is the most dangerous form of malware that you come across on your device, and it can cause you a ton of headaches.
In a nutshell, ransomware is able to encrypt your important files, which means that you won’t be able to access them or move them. The only way to remove the encryption is to pay a ransom fee to the hackers, which is usually an eye-watering amount of money.
There are also different types of ransomware, as if you didn’t just have to worry about ransomware itself. It’s important to understand the differences between the various types of ransomware to understand the risk that your device is facing. You can see the different types of ransomware below:
- Encrypting ransomware: encrypting ransomware is the most common type of ransomware that you might come across. This type of ransomware encrypts the victim’s files, and the hacker will demand a payment to be made in exchange for the encryption to be removed. However, paying the ransom fee does not guarantee that the hacker will remove the encryption, which means you might end up paying without solving the problem. This type of ransomware is most commonly used to target corporate networks and businesses.
- Locker ransomware: locker ransomware is one of the oldest types of ransomware, and is still used today. This type of ransomware will not only lock you out of your files, but it will also lock you out of your device or system entirely. You will need to pay the ransom fee simply to gain access to your device and your files. Again, even if you pay the ransom fee, there’s no guarantee that the cybercriminal will remove the encryption from your device. This type of ransomware can be used to target businesses and individual devices.
- Scareware: scareware is a type of ransomware that will trick the user into believing that they have ransomware on their device and that they need to pay a ransom fee to the hacker. Scareware will usually have a message popup on the screen that tells the user that ransomware has been detected on their device, and that they must pay a fee to have it removed. However, ignoring this message usually means that their files remain safe and unencrypted. This type of ransomware is common on individual devices.
How can ransomware make its way onto your device?
The main method that cybercriminals use to install ransomware on your device is through phishing scams. Phishing has been around for a long time, and it involved sending fraudulent emails to the victim’s device. The email will urge the victim to interact with a link or attachment in the email, and once they do, the ransomware will be installed on their device. Sometimes links can also be hidden all across the internet on fraudulent websites that prompt ransomware to be installed on a device whenever the link is clicked. Remember, links can be hidden as icons and images too.
How to keep your devices secure
Keeping your devices secure is the most important factor in preventing ransomware from being installed on your device. In the majority of cases, it’s impossible to recover your files without the decryption key, even if the ransomware has been removed from your device.
The first thing you need to protect your devices against ransomware is premium anti-malware software. You should look out for software that will protect vulnerable programs and has an anti-ransomware feature.
You should also make sure that you are constantly backing up your files to an encrypted cloud storage where they will be kept safe. You will then be able to access your files even if they are encrypted on one of your devices. The best way would be to backup your data offline to a hard disk
Finally you must always keep your device and cybersecurity software up to date. Software updates are sent out to fix any flaws that have been discovered in the software through user testing. Software updates can also sometimes add extra safety features that will help to keep your device secure.
Story by Nenad Sibinovik