If you thought viruses and key-loggers were the only lethal threats to the information stored on your computer, the next few lines might make you jump right out of your chair! Malware has been around since the birth of the internet.
One of the reasons they do not interfere with our daily surfing is because of advanced antivirus and antimalware protection that we have on our systems.
While these security preventions are working day and night to protect us from the threats, hackers and malicious coders as well work day and night to get money and information out of our computers.
One of the growing threats and clever way of taking money from us and giving us a hard time is through ransomware.
Just When You Thought Malware Couldn’t Get Worse…
Simply put, ransomware viruses are a kind of malware that encrypt and lock all or some files on your computer; then asks to pay money to the author of the ransomware to unlock it.
The severity of the attack depends on the kind of files the ransomware affects. In some cases, it only encrypts a few software files which make a few features of the operating system unavailable. While at other times, the malware affects the entire hard disk and make the computer unusable.
Most Dangerous Ransomware Viruses
Take a look at the 3 most dangerous ransomware viruses that the internet has recently seen.
Locky was first seen in February 2016. It is usually sent as an email attachment with the title reading ‘Invoice J-00’ and so on. The email contains a word document which has a macro programmed into it. The document states that if the recipient is not able to see the invoice, the user should allow the macros to run. As soon as the user enables the macro, all the required executable files of Locky are downloaded and the system is compromised.
The latest version of Locky is so smart that it can hide within your computer and can save itself from the manual checks too.
Recently, a new format of the Locky mail has been recognized which reads ‘Receipt of Order – 00’ instead of the invoice.
Cerber is yet another smart malware that is even more powerful. How? Because it is freely available for people to download, customize and spread.
This ransomware uses two methods of transportation.
- Like Locky, it is also sent as an attachment. When opened, it infects the computer.
- The second method is the link to unsubscribe from the phishing list, which again takes you to the same attachment, and finally, leads to infection.
Once Cerber infects your system, it then takes control over more than 400 file types and encrypts them before asking for money. The ransom can be as high as 500$ and if not paid, you are not allowed to use your computer.
CryptoWall is easily the most threatening ransomware ever. It does not use any email attachment tricks. It is advanced and relies on vulnerabilities in Java and spreads through malicious advertisements running on popular websites like Facebook and Disney.
The virus enters the computer silently mostly through %APPDATA% folder and then starts scanning the hard disk for target files. Once it has the list of files that can be encrypted, it starts its show.
What makes CryptoWall lethal is its ability to run on both 32 as well as 64 bit systems. However, the effect of CryptoWall can be minimized temporarily by replacing the files from a backup hard disk. While this is not the permanent solution, it can buy you enough time to take some security measures.
Protect Yourself From Ransomware Viruses
Ransomware viruses have become one of the most popular and damaging threats that users face. The best ways to prevent this type of malware infection is to always backup your computer, update your operation system and to avoid clicking on suspicious files sent from unknown sources in your email attachments.
We expect that the ransomware threat will continue to increase as more cyber threat actors move into developing and deploying ransomware viruses. So stay safe and follow these steps to reduce the likelihood of becoming a ransomware victim.