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Surviving Ransomware

6 May 2024

Surviving Ransomware – What you need to know.

Ransomware attacks have dominated recent headlines in a seemingly endless parade of compromises in numerous sectors. From Trojan.Gpcoder, the first modern ransomware exploit to use a spam email attachment, to high-profile hits on Colonial Pipeline (one of the largest US pipeline operators) and JBS Foods (the world’s largest meat processing company), it’s becoming clear that security practitioners are up against formidable foes.

Ransomware 101: The Basics

Ransomware is a criminal business model that uses malicious software to cryptographically hold data hostage, locking and encrypting a system while demanding a ransom payment in exchange for restoring access. While an increasingly urgent challenge, ransomware can be prevented—or at least damage can be minimized—through proper training, specific tunings in your current IT environment, and deploying advanced endpoint technology, including adding solutions such as extended detection and response (XDR) to your security stack.

Ransomware can be divided into two basic types: crypto-ransomware, the most common, which encrypts files and data, and locker ransomware, which locks the computer or other device, preventing the victims from using it. Locker ransomware only locks the device, while the data stored on the device is typically untouched. As a result, if the malware is removed, the data is untouched. Even if the malware cannot be easily removed, the data can often be recovered by moving the storage device, typically a hard drive, to another functioning computer. Crypto-ransomware, on the other hand, encrypts the data, so even if the malware is removed from the device or the storage media is moved to another device, the data is not accessible. Typically, crypto-ransomware does not target critical system files, enabling the device to continue to function despite being infected—after all, the device could be needed to pay the ransom.

Download our helpful guide to surviving ransomware, and what you need to know.

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