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Ransomware is malware that encrypts user data and makes it inaccessible to the victim. The attacker demands a ransom in exchange for decrypting the data. Payment is typically demanded in cryptocurrency and the costs can range between hundreds and thousands of dollars. Even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that the data will be restored.
Ransomware has become more sophisticated over time. While the original ransomware was limited to encrypting a single endpoint, current variants have advanced distribution mechanisms. Modern ransomware encrypts its own code to make reverse engineering difficult and can use offline encryption methods, eliminating the need for communication with a command and control (C&C) center.
The clearest sign of a ransomware attack is if the system displays a window with a ransom note like the one below.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
If there is no ransom notice, here a few quick ways to detect if your system is affected by ransomware:
If you’ve been infected by malware, here are some quick steps you can take to remove the malware and prevent further damage:
Most security experts and law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, advise not to pay the ransom in case of a ransomware attack. There are three primary reasons:
First, identify what type of Ransomware has infected your systems.
This type of malware locks users out of a computer, sometimes claiming that the computer was locked by the authorities. Another variant is doxware, which threatens to share a user’s public information publicly if a ransom is not paid.
These types of Ransomware are less severe, and you can typically clean them using antivirus software.
Filecoders / encrypting ransomware
This is the more severe type of ransomware that irreversibly encrypts files on a computer. Whether you can remove this type of ransomware depends on the specific malware strain that infected your system.
You typically have three options to recover from an encrypting ransomware attack:
The steps required to remove filecoders/encrypting ransomware depend on whether you have backed up your files before encryption.
Follow these steps to clean a ransomware infection if you have a safe backup from which you can restore your files.
Follow these steps to clean a ransomware infection if you do not have a safe backup of your files, or if backups were corrupted by the ransomware:
Cynet 360 is an Advanced Threat Detection and Response platform that provides protection against threats, including ransomware, zero-day attacks, advanced persistent threats (APT), and trojans that can evade signature-based security measures.
Cynet provides a multi-layered approach to stop ransomware from executing and encrypting your data:
Learn more about how Cynet 360 can protect your organization against ransomware and other advanced threats.