The world got shocked when it saw the biggest ever a malicious virus attack on May 12th, 2017. People became witnesses seeing lots of files got corrupted and not being able to open them in front of their eyes. In-fact, they got a message flashing on the screen to pay some price to unlock the files.
Name of the ransomware was WannaCry with the epicenter being in Europe.
The severity of the attack could be understood in such a way that it asks for the payment in lieu of opening the files. Till the the time the payment is not made, the system remains locked. The type of extortion is called cyptovirology attack that blocks any system until a ransom is made.
The impact of this was seen in India also. According to some resources, few computers were showing messages to make a payment of $300 to unlock the files when they were started in Kerala, India.
Similarly in other places where the incidence was reported, people saw the messages flashing on their screens to make the payment of ransom amount.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to attack the files on computer systems with a virus. The virus blocks all the files and documents and do not let the user open them. It encrypts all the files on the victim’s system and asks for ransom payment in the form of extortion to decrypt them.
These types of Ransomware attacks are carried out using a Trojan.
Three types of ransomware in circulation
- Encryptors: It blocks the system files and in return demands payment and in return offers a key to decrypt the files. Example of Encryptors are: CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Locky.
- Lockers: This type of ransomware attacks a victim out of the operating system. He is not able to access the desktop and any other files or apps. The files remain unattacked and not encrypted but the ransom has still to be paid to set them free. Example of Lockers are: Winlocker, police-themed ransomware
- Few ransomware are Lockers which affect the MBR I,e. Master Boot Record. They affect the booting part of the system and thus operating systems are not able to boot up. Again a ransom message is displayed on the screen to pay some amount
Top 8 Features of Ransomware
- It has the ability to encrypt all the files in a system including, photos, videos,audios, and everything else.
- It adds a different extension In your system.
- The extortion amount it asks for is in a crypto-currency called Bitcoins. The reason is that the Bitcoins are not tracked by cyber security agencies.
- It displays a message on screen after the attack, for a certain amout of payment to be done in lieu of freeing the files. And, if the amount it not paid in time, then the value goes on increasing and sometimes the files are fully destroyed.
- Such Ransomware viruses are not recognized by traditional anti-virus.
- The attack can spread to the connected PC and a network.
- The ransom message is sometimes made in the native language so that the victim can understand that.
- Ransomware mostly attacks home users as they do not have data back-up. And they have sometimes little cyber education and easily click on anything.
Six ways to stop WannaCry 2.0 Ransomware
- Never open a link or attachment that seems to be doubtful
- Take periodic back up of your data. If your files get encrypted, atleast you do have a back up
- Unplug your system from network as soon as you smell something fishy
- Install an antivirus software that provides endpoint security solution
- Adopt an habit of installing security updates more frequently for your system. If using older Windows version(2003, XP, Windows 8), you can do this by visiting their official website to download the security updates
- All the files including software and system should be upto date