Protection and safety of their devices is something that everyone always strives for but today’s technological world interconnected by the Internet is not all that perfect, and there are people who exploit these imperfections. One such piece of malicious code that has been on the rise in recent times is Ransomware.
Ransomware, as the name suggests, demands a ransom from the user for access to their files. The access to files is revoked by encryption, which can only be decrypted by the initiator of the attack.
These attacks are usually initiated with the help of a Trojan, but there have been cases like the ‘WannaCry’ or ‘Petya’ attack that spreads by exploiting vulnerabilities in the system without the need of any human intervention. Click here to learn more about Ransomware.
What does ransomware encrypt?
Ransomware finds its way into a computer through phishing; it acts as software that seems legitimate and gains administrative privileges, which usually ends up providing it access to all the files in the PC.
All file types are exposed to ransomware, and none are specifically safe. Infected files usually have a ‘.encrypted’ extension. Several types of ransomware can encrypt not only the files but the entire system, though this type of infection is more common among smartphones.
Does it affect cloud platforms?
Cloud platforms, as we know them in today’s day and age, are not safe from ransomware. These services work on the basis of shared files, and if even one infected file makes it onto these servers, anyone who that file has been shared with is susceptible to be caught into a string of ransomware attacks.
In an effort to protect against ransomware attacks Microsoft took steps in OneDrive by making a feature known as Files Restore, which lets the user return to a file version from any time within the last 30 days. This feature was exclusive to business accounts but has now been brought to personal accounts, which have an Office 365 subscription.
Are encrypted files safe?
Ransomware, as mentioned before, uses its malicious code to encrypt a file. One may think that if they pre-encrypt their file, it may be safe from any attacks in the future but that is not the case as these files can always be re-encrypted.
Some steps to protect against ransomware attacks
- Keep your OS up to date and never leave any patches uninstalled as they usually include important security settings updates.
- Never install any programs and give them administrative privileges without being sure of their legitimacy.
- Use external storage options to back-up your files, but do not leave the storage device connected to the computer as it can still be affected by the ransomware.