Ransomware has become a serious security threat over the last decade or so. As the name suggests, the malware asks for a ‘ransom’ in exchange for letting users regain access to their system and/or data. Let’s take a look at the origin and evolution of the enigmatic Ransomware and how to be safe from ransomware.
Although the first known Ransomware was created and unleashed by mentally unstable biologist named Joseph L. Popp in 1989, it became a mainstream threat about a decade ago. If you are wondering how Dr. Popp managed to unleash a ransomware without Internet proliferation, the here’s the story for you
He sent 20,000 infected discs labeled “AIDS Information – Introductory Diskettes” to the attendees of International AIDS Conference. After 90 reboots, the malware hid directories and encrypted the names of the files on the computers concerned. To regain access, users were asked to pay $189 to PC Cyborg Corp at a PO Box in Panama. The virus came to be known as AIDS Trojan or PS Cyborg1 in later years.
How Dangerous is Crypto Ransomware?
Crypto Ransomware is a rather serious digital threat. In the third quarter of 2011, about 60,000 new ransomware were detected. The figure doubled over to more than 200,000 within a year. Ransomware threats reportedly quadrupled by the third quarter of 2015.
The quick solution is to pay the ransom. It leaves you a few hundred dollars poorer. Besides, there is no guarantee of your data being safe. Cyber security professionals often advise against paying up. But then, you do it at your own risk.
New Locky and SamSam Ransomware
What NOT to do if you want to be safe from ransomware
Pretty much all kinds of system – personal or official – are prone to ransomware attack. However, there are few pointers which will let you ascertain how vulnerable you are to such attacks:
- Legacy Software:
For the uninitiated, ‘Legacy software’ is a pejorative term for outdated software. If you are one of those people who are too lethargic to run software updates, you are at a greater risk to be hit by ransomware. Old Software versions are one of the oft used gate- ways for ransomware attacks.
- Unpatched Software:
Ransomware exploit what are known as vulnerabilities or flaws in programs. For instance, Cerber exploited Flash Player’s ‘CVE-2016-1019 flaw’. However, software updates often have patch codes to fix such flaws, if any. Another reason to do regular updates to ensure there are no ‘unpatched software’ on your system.
- Outdated System:
Outdated systems have inherent security risks. Need we say more?
- No Backup Plan:
What is ransomware’s target? Quite simply data; both personal and professional. So if you have got no backup data plan, you let ransomware win, hands down.
- Overall System Security:
Last, but certainly not the least, if you don’t have a robust system security, you are an easy prey. So get those anti-virus and anti- malware installed. They are necessary.
What is the Best Precaution to be safe from ransomware?
Even if you update all your software meticulously and maintain your system, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get past ransomware. It’s a surreptitious malware. More often than not, you won’t even know when you have been hit. It enters through emails and open source network and starts taking over your data. So the best preventive measure is backing up your data.
Secure your PC from Ransomware
If you are looking for a tight-security backup plan try installing Right Backup. It’s cloud storage app that provides you with unlimited space to save your files. You can download it here