Data Security

Ransomware…What is it?

What is Ransomware?  Let us define Malware first.  Malware is a term used to describe any type of software that’s designed to disrupt normal computer operations. Malware can also collect private information or take control of a computer system. The history of malware dates back several decades, with one of the most notable examples being the first Internet Worm. Although many early examples of malware were written as pranks or experiments, modern malware is generally created and distributed with very specific goals in mind.


Within the umbrella of malware is a specific type of software known as ransomware. The way that ransomware works is it stops someone from using their computer. The reason this type of software is called ransomware is once it blocks someone, it displays a message indicating that the only way to regain control of their computer is to send a payment.


Scare Tactics Used By Ransomware


While ransomware comes in many different forms, one of the most common examples is a web browser will suddenly display a message that is supposedly from the FBI or another government agency. The message will accuse the user of doing something illegal, and then inform them that they can avoid criminal charges by paying a fine. Moneypak is the most commonly requested form of payment.


Another example of ransomware that has become quite prevalent is known as FakeBsod. This malware program injects JavaScript code into a browser and displays a blue screen that mimics the look of a fatal Windows error screen. The screen includes a message to call a Microsoft technician. If someone calls the toll-free number that’s listed, they will be asked to send a payment to fix the issue.


Chimera Ransomware is Targeting Businesses


Ransomware has really taken off during the last couple of years. In most cases, ransomware has targeted people who are browsing the Internet on their personal computers. However, a new ransomware program known as Chimera is specifically targeting businesses. The way that this especially nasty form of ransomware works is it will send an email to an employee.


The email will include a link to what’s supposedly an internal job application or corporate deal. If an employee clicks the link, they will be taken to a Dropbox file that contains the malicious code. Opening the file will result in that computer being infected and all local files getting encrypted. Upon restarting the computer, the employee will see a message on their desktop that demands a Bitcoin payment of around $700. Although it’s possible to remove this ransomware without paying, a much better option is to prevent it from getting on a company network in the first place.


If you want to protect your business against ransomware and other forms of malware, be sure to learn about the different managed network services in Cincinnati that we offer.


By Skynet Innovations Jan 12, 2016