What is Ransomware? How It Works and How to Remove It?

ransomware

Last updated on November 1st, 2018 at 3:46 am

Ever since the computer is introduced to us, the way everything around us operates has been completely changed. For most of the part, it has been extremely good, but it also has brought some unwanted and unpleasant scenarios as well. While computers are being used for pretty much every purpose, we now have millions of computers all around the world. Well, there’s a darker side to this phenomenon, which is the aspect of cyber attacks. Even though digital threats are nothing new to us, but recently they’ve been growing stronger with exponential pace. The latest threat that shook the digital world is ransomware, especially popularized by the ‘wannacry’ attack. Thousands of people have become victim to this ransomware attack. To know what is ransomware and other related information, keep on reading.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software, which is also shortly known as malware. It attacks vulnerable computers and gets access to all the files in the devices. After achieving access, it then encrypts those files and demands money as ransom from the device owner. Unless the person pays the ransom amount, the computer will stay in locked mode, making it impossible to access your data. Let’s have a look at some of the popular ransomware types:

what is ransomware

Image Source: condecdn.net

Also Read: Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS): Subscription Based Ransomware Attack Model from Dark Web

  • Scareware: Well, you don’t really have to be scared just because it has the term ‘scare’ in its name. Basically, it’s a fake program that claims itself to be a genuine security program. It then offers you assistance in fixing various types of system issues. If you accept the offer you’ll be asked to pay subscription fee. If you still proceed with that, you will just lose money and nothing gets fixed. To be precise, it’s just a scamming method. This type of ransomware is deployed through pop-up, which if you ignore, you’ll be just fine.
scareware

Image Source: fraudwatchinternational.com

  • Doxware: Now, we move to the next level of ransomware threats, which is Doxware, alternatively known as leakware. If your device is infected with this type of malicious software, you’re almost doomed. As we all store confidential and personal files on our devices, doxware, after attacking your computer, threatens to leak your information unless you pay ransom money.
doxware

Image Source: thewindowsclubco

Also Read: The 10 Best Cybersecurity Tips for Businesses

  • Encrypting Ransomware: This is the most lethal form you can get from ransomware. Many famous cyber attacks come under this category, as they’ve bamboozled a lot of people around the world. Basically, hackers use this attack method to get hold of a device and then to encrypt it completely. Unless you pay the demanded amount of money as ransom, you can’t get access to your device and files in it. It is as dangerous as it gets if you’ve fallen victim to this category.
wannacry ransomware

Image Source: computerworlduk.com

How does Ransomware work?

As discussed above, a ransomware program attacks your computer and then encrypts the data in it. You can get access to your files only if you pay the ransom money. So, to understand the process of how it works in a better way, let’s have a look at some of the key steps involved in the attack:

how it works

Image Source: trendmicro.com

  • Generally, it all starts with the deployment of the malware into your device, either through an e-mail, pop-up, or any other source.
  • When the user clicks on the source, which is disguised as an important item, a redirection to a new landing page takes place.
  • Once the website redirection happens, the server hosting the ransomware begins communicating with your device.
  • As soon as a vulnerability is found in the victims’ computer, the malware file download begins.
  • The final step involves the encryption of the victim’s files and information, after which a message appears with payment details.

Also Read: How AI and Machine Learning Are Redefining Cybersecurity

How to remove Ransomware from your device?

Ransomware not only attacks corporate computers, but also targets commoners like you and me. Once attacked, it’s very difficult to get rid of it. As they say, prevention is better than cure. If you want to be safe and secure, you must follow several precautionary measures. Here are a few things that you should do:

  • Never click on random links and suspicious emails.
  • Try to download any type of files from only official websites.
  • Don’t use pirated websites and services to download files.

If you’ve been attacked by ransomware, you should install anti-ransomware software to get rid of the malicious program. But, there’s no 100% guarantee that a security program will help you in such instances. It’s better to use a security software beforehand, so that it will prevent any type of attacks taking place.

Final Verdict

Now, you must be aware of what is ransomware and how it works. As you’ve also learnt how to prevent and remove it, now it’s time for you to take precautionary measure to stay safe. Download and start using a reputed anti-ransomware software to avoid any type of future attacks.

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