Ransomware attacks how to prevent them in 2021

Even if you are not a cybersecurity expert or IT professional, you probably have heard about ransomware. News about ransomware attacks is emerging everywhere and 2020 was especially abundant in such news: “unprecedented rise of ransomware”, “ransomware is the biggest cybersecurity threat”, “top ransomware attacks”, “companies paralyzed by ransomware attacks”, etc. So what type of monster is that? Who can be affected? How to get rid of it…or maybe prevent it?

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is malware (a.k.a. malicious software) infecting your computer or any other devices with a code, locking your device, or encrypting your files (making them unreadable for you). After your device is infected, the cybercriminals will demand you pay a ransom (that’s why it is called “ransomware”) to give you access to your own data. Ransomware can affect a single file, a PC, an entire network, and even a server. Imagine what a headache it is to lose access to your data. Now, imagine the impact of having your businesses’ data locked up.

A ransomware attack is a complete nightmare especially for companies dealing with large databases (for example in finance and healthcare industries) as hackers threaten to sell that data unless the ransom is paid. Will the cybercriminals keep their word? Not obvious at all: many companies asserted that the criminals have published the data, even after the “deal” was made.

It’s not surprising that ransomware is considered one of the biggest cybersecurity threats. Any device can be infected, ransomware attacks can cause unexpected business downtime, and as a result, affect your company’s reputation.


How does ransomware infect your devices?

There are several ways to “catch” ransomware, and it is important to be aware of all of them.
Ransomware is spread through:

Ransomware in 2020; Covid-19 impact

Ransomware dates back to the 1980s. It all started from an infected floppy disk: the first ransomware, AIDS Trojan (a.k.a. PC Cyborg) was spread among thousands of healthcare professionals. It was quite easy to beat, but it clearly became a catalyst for future events. During the next decades, ransomware developed massively (especially starting from the 2000s) creating havoc in hundreds of thousands of companies all over the world.

2020 was an unprecedented success for ransomware attackers. How did cyber-criminals take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic?

As a result, ransomware became especially nasty, and successful ransomware attacks have grown drastically in 2020.

How to prevent ransomware in 2021

As we can see, ransomware is definitely the fastest-growing type of cybercrime, and it’s not planning to go anywhere in 2021. Moreover, the more successful and profitable the ransomware “business” becomes, the more new ransomware criminals emerge (and they are using more and more sophisticated approaches).

What to do if your device is already infected by ransomware? First of all, never pay the ransom! As announced by the FBI, paying a ransom is a bad idea, primarily because even if you pay, there’s no guarantee that criminals will unlock your device/files; or they may give you access to your files, but publish the data anyway.

Getting rid of ransomware often requires serious technical skills, time, and money. According to cybersecurity experts, to protect from ransomware, you must… prevent it.

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