Ransomware: What techniques are hackers using to steal your information?
There is no doubt that the digital world has opened up many avenues for people. Whether it involves entertainment, e-commerce, learning, or any other activity, the internet and the digital platform are there for us. However, alongside these opportunities, there are drawbacks.
Cybersecurity threats and hackers have become more daring than ever before. They use various techniques to steal private information and hold it as ransom. Because of such threats, people need to be more vigilant about sharing personal information. Most importantly, they need to be aware of the various methods hackers use to access information without consent.
Ransomware is a common technique hackers use to infect your computer with malware or corrupted software. The following section explains this in detail:
You may have heard of ransomware in the news. Recently, hackers used ransomware to attack a food supply company. It forced the company to shut down its plants, workers had to go home, and livestock had to be sent back to the farmers, according to a report by Wired.
Such attacks are a threat to national security and can put a company at losses. Financial losses aside, it mires the image of a company so that customers and stakeholders lose trust in it.
So what is ransomware?
In simple terms, ransomware is a malicious file or software that hackers use to prevent you from accessing your data. It does so by encrypting the files. Hackers use various encryption methods to encrypt the files. Encryption algorithms, such as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman), are common methods involved in ransomware.
The hacker demands the victim to provide compensation so that the victim can gain access to personal information. The amount varies from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the nature of the information stolen. In the case of corporations, the ransom may as well be millions of dollars.
In recent years, there have been many ransomware attacks. Those that were found and defeated are mentioned as follows, according to InfoSec Institute:
- Apocalypse Ransomware
- Cerber Ransomware
- CryptoWall Ransomware
- Jigsaw Ransomware
- Locky Ransomware
- Petya Ransomware
- TeslaCrypt Ransomware
- TorrentLocker Ransomware
- Unlock92 Ransomware
Hackers use various social engineering techniques to lure victims into providing personal information. Social engineering involves techniques that exploit human nature.
There are various ways that ransomware can infect your computer. Here
Phishing involves dubious emails, websites, and text messages that gather personal information. The email may seem like it is from a reputable source, for example, a bank. The email may ask you to click on a link or download a file. The file is malware that infects the computer. The hacker may also create a sense of urgency in the email to trick the victim into providing personal information.
Because of the availability of various tools, hackers are becoming better and better at phishing attempts. In addition to this, a hacker may look into system vulnerabilities to spread ransomware.
How to prevent ransomware?
There are some ways that a person can prevent a ransomware attack or a phishing attempt:
Check the email for its recipient. Make sure that it is from a reliable source. Also, check for mistakes in the email address.
Messages in an email from a questionable source will have grammatical mistakes in the content.
Never click on an email attachment or link if it is from an unknown source.
Never provide personal information, such as name, address, social security number, phone number, and other details, to someone you don’t know.
Ransomware has become quite common within the past few years. People and organizations that have fallen prey to it have suffered immensely. Hence, ensuring that you are safe from such attacks is essential in the digital age.