How does ransomware work and how can you get rid of it?
Ransomware is a sort of malicious software (malware) that threatens to expose or limit access to data or a computer system, often by encrypting it, unless the victim pays the attacker ransom money. The ransom demand is usually followed by a deadline. If the victim does not pay the ransom in a reasonable fashion, the data may be lost forever, or the ransom will be increased.
These days, ransomware operations are all too common. It has hit corporates in both North America and Europe. Cybercriminals will pursue any individual or firm, and victims will come from a variety of industries.
Spyware is a form of malware that encrypts the files of all its victims. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim in payment for recovering access to the data.
Users are granted instruction on how to obtain the decryption key by investing in a charge. The rates range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, and they have been paid in Bitcoin to thieves.
What Does Ransomware Do?
Asymmetric encryption is used by ransomware. This is an encryption algorithm that scrambles a file but uses a pair of keys. The attacker assigned a random public-private shared key for the victim, with the private key used to decrypt files saved on the attacker's server. The cybercriminal only gives the victim the private key once the ransom is paid, but as recent ransomware attempts clearly show, this is not always the case. It's nearly tough to decipher the files being held for ransom without access to the private key.
There are many various kinds of ransomware. Ransomware (and other malware) is often stretched through email spam campaigns or targeted attacks.
The majority of ransomware or virus infections in businesses begin with a malicious email. Unwittingly, a user opens a malicious attachment or clicks on a URL that has been compromised.
A ransomware agent is then installed, and it begins encrypting important files on the victim's computer and any attached file shares. The ransomware shows a message on the infected device after encrypting the data. The message outlines what happened and how to compensate the perpetrators. The ransomware promises that if the victims pay, they will receive a code that will allow them to recover their data.
What is the reason for the spread of ransomware?
For myriad reasons, ransomware attacks and their variants are rapidly changing to overcome preventive technologies:
Malware kits are readily accessible and can be used to develop fresh malware samples on demand.
New techniques, such as encrypting the entire hard drive so rather than chosen data, are being used.
Thieves of today don't even need to be tech-savvy. Ransomware shops spring up online, giving malware strains to any would-be cybercriminal and creating extra revenue for malware creators, who commonly demand a share of the ransom money.
7 actions to take in the event of a ransomware attack
It's critical to respond fast if you feel you've been the victim of a ransomware assault. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of reducing damage and rapidly getting back to business as usual.
Isolate the infected device: Ransomware that affects always one device is a mild inconvenience. Getting ransomware to infect all of your company's assets is a huge disaster that might put you out of business entirely. The difference, in this case, is frequently due to reaction time. It's critical to unplug the afflicted device from the network, internet, and other devices as soon as possible to ensure the safety of your network, documents, and other devices. The sooner you do so, the less likely you are to infect other devices.
Examine the damage: Check for recently encrypted files with peculiar file extension names, as well as reports of strange file names or users having problems accessing files, to establish which devices have been affected. If you find any devices that haven't been fully encrypted, isolate and turn them off to help contain the attack and prevent future data loss and damage. Your goal is to compile a thorough list of all systems that have been compromised, including network storage devices, cloud storage, external hard drive storage (including USB thumb drives), laptops, smartphones, and any other possible vectors. It's a good idea to lock in your shares at this stage. If possible, restrict all of them; if not, restrict as many as you can.
Find Patient Zero: Once you've found the source of the illness, tracking it down becomes much easier. Check for any notifications from your antivirus/antimalware, EDR, or any other active monitoring platform to do so. Asking people about their activities (such as opening strange emails) and what they've noticed might also be valuable because most ransomware enters networks via malicious email links and attachments, which need end-user activity. Finally, looking at the attributes of the files can reveal something—the person named as the owner is almost certainly the access point. (However, keep in mind that there could be more than one Patient Zero!)
Locate the ransomware: It's critical to figure out the type of malware you're dealing with before moving on. The Crypto Sheriff tool is one of a number of tools available on the site to assist you in reclaiming your data: Simply upload an encrypted file and it will search for a match. You can also utilize the following information from the ransom note: If the ransomware variation isn't explicitly stated, utilizing a search engine to look into the email address or the note itself can help. You should notify all unaffected staff as quickly as possible when you've identified the malware and done some short study into its behavior.
Report the ransomware to the cabinet: For various reasons, you should alert law enforcement as soon as the ransomware has been confined. To begin with, ransomware is illegal, and as with any other crime, it should be reported to the appropriate authorities. Second, "Law enforcement may be able to use legal authority and tools that are unavailable to most businesses," according to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Partnerships with international law enforcement can be used to aid in the recovery of stolen or encrypted data and the prosecution of the culprits. Finally, the attack may have ramifications for compliance: If you don't tell the ICO within 72 hours of a data breach involving EU citizens, you could face stiff penalties under the GDPR.
Examine your backup options: It's now time to get to work on your response. Restoring your systems from a backup is the quickest and easiest way to do it. Ideally, you'll have a current enough uninfected and complete backup to be helpful. If that's the case, the next step is to use an antivirus/antimalware solution to ensure that all affected systems and devices are clean of ransomware—otherwise, it'll keep locking your system and encrypting your files, perhaps destroying your backup. You'll be able to restore your systems from this backup once all traces of malware have been removed, and you'll be ready to resume business as usual once you've verified that all data has been recovered and all apps and processes are back up and operating normally.
Examine your alternatives for decryption: If you don't have a backup, there's still a chance you'll be able to recover your data. At No More Ransom, you can find a growing number of free decryption keys. You'll be able to use the decryption key to unlock your data if one is available for the ransomware-type you're dealing with (and presuming you've removed all traces of malware from your machine by now). Even if you're lucky enough to locate a decryptor, you're still not done—you might expect hours or days of downtime as you work on fixing the problem.
Why don't I just pay the ransomware and be done with it?
It may be tempting to give in to a ransom demand when faced with the prospect of weeks or months of rehabilitation. However, there are a number of reasons why this is not a good idea:
You may never get a decryption key: You're meant to get a decryption key when you pay a ransomware demand. However, while dealing with ransomware, you're relying on the thieves' honesty. Many people and organizations have paid the ransom only to receive nothing in return, leaving them with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and the need to rebuild their systems from the ground up.
You may be subjected to numerous ransom requests: Once you pay a ransom, the cyber criminals who installed the ransomware are aware that you are at their mercy. If you're willing to spend a little (or a lot) more, they might provide you with a functional key.
You might get a working decryption key: The authors of ransomware aren't in the business of restoring files; they're in the business of making money. To put it another way, the decryptor you receive may be sufficient for the crooks to claim they kept their half of the bargain. Furthermore, the encryption procedure has been known to corrupt some files beyond repair. Even a good decryption key won't be able to access your files if this happens—they'll be lost forever.
You can be making a target out of yourself: Criminals realize you're a good investment after you pay a ransom. An established target with a track record of paying the ransom is more appealing than a new target that may or may not pay. What's to stop the same gang of crooks from targeting you again in a year or two, or from getting onto a forum and announcing your vulnerability to other cybercriminals?
The threat of ransomware has generated plenty of solutions to fight it
Kenoxis Total Security makes use of a number of anti-ransomware solutions. The following is a list of Kenoxis products that may be configured to block various varieties of ransomware:
Traditional capabilities are combined with machine learning and containment in Kenoxis Total Security to help expose suspicious behavior and detect threats, including zero-day and fileless assaults. It makes use of Kenoxis Global Threat Intelligence, which has millions of sensors that keep an eye out for new ransomware signatures.
Kenoxis Web Protection scans a site's active content, emulates its behavior, and predicts its intent using machine learning intelligence, proactively defending against zero-day and targeted attacks before they reach endpoint systems.
Policy configuration in Kenoxis Threat Intelligence Exchange can identify and tag problematic processes.
Kenoxis Application Control provides a dual-layer defense comprising whitelisting technology and memory protection to assist prevent the execution of binaries from unknown sources and prevent zero-day vulnerabilities.