Table of Contents
- 1 In 2016, 638 million ransomware attacks were recorded, and this number is more than 167 times higher than in 2015. Ransomware viruses, a new type of malware, quickly declared themselves to be a full-fledged and serious cyber threat. Various organizations and ordinary users suffer from cyber attacks. It should be noted that there is a certain confusion between hacker programs and ransomware viruses.
In 2016, 638 million ransomware attacks were recorded, and this number is more than 167 times higher than in 2015. Ransomware viruses, a new type of malware, quickly declared themselves to be a full-fledged and serious cyber threat. Various organizations and ordinary users suffer from cyber attacks. It should be noted that there is a certain confusion between hacker programs and ransomware viruses.
Hacker programs (malware)
Malware is short for ‘malware. ‘ Programs of this kind are created specifically so that, pretending to be some other program, penetrate the user’s computer. Malicious people are able to track everything that a user does on their computer. It inflicts certain damage that the user himself sometimes simply does not notice. The most common types of malware include viruses, keyloggers, and spyware.
Malicious applications are used to steal sensitive data or send spam. However, these days, such programs have become more often used to earn money through the display of advertisements.
Not so long ago, Fireball malware appeared, behind which stood the Chinese digital advertising firm Infotech. Because of Fireball, more than 250 million browsers all over the world have turned into machines for making money by viewing advertisements. Every 5th corporate network was hit by this malware.
As it turned out later, such a widespread of malware was due to bundling (the method of distributing software in the form of a software package (bundle), when together with the main program the third-party software paid by the sponsor is included in the installation package). So, when installing a number of popular programs (for example, Deal Wifi, Mustang Browser, Soso Desktop and VFP Image viewer), the malware was installed independently, hidden from the user.
Just a week before Fireball,
about 36.5 million Android devices were hit by Judy. This malware was found in 41 applications, all of which were developed by the Korean company Kiniwini. Judy’s goal was also to make money from false clicks on advertisements. By the way, most of these applications with dangerous stuffing were posted on the Google Play Store, which cannot but cause serious questions regarding the security of Android.
Not so long ago, the world was faced with the Crash Override malware, and it was because of it that Kyiv was de-energized. Actually, this is the first case in history when a malware attacked the city’s electrical system. However, even one case is enough to assess the full destructiveness of the possible consequences.
A ransomware virus is a type of malware that blocks access to data on your computer until you pay a ransom. As a rule, the ransom is accepted in bitcoins. Nowadays, such viruses no longer block keyboards or entire computers, they only deal with some separate files. Such files are encrypted using a private key that only the authors of the ransomware virus know. However, no one will guarantee that even after the transfer of the ransom, your files will be unlocked.
In May 2017, a large-scale attack by the Wannacry ransomware virus hit more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries around the world. Only those computers that were running Windows were affected.
The Petya ransomware virus has disrupted the work of a large number of organizations in Europe, the USA and the Middle East. However, the main difference between Petya and WannaCry is the fact that Petya can only be distributed over a local network. If your computer is not part of the local network of the enterprise, then Petya is unlikely to be a threat to you. WannaCry, on the other hand, could spread until it infected all computers connected to the Internet. Fortunately, the virus was able to neutralize before that.
it turned out that Petya was not a ransomware virus, but the so-called viper. It turned out that Petya was specially created similar to a ransomware virus. But at the same time, there was not a single line in its code about returning access to encrypted files. Everything was much worse. After rebooting the victim’s computer, Petya encrypted the main hard disk file table (MFT). It also permanently corrupted the master boot record (MBR). The encrypted code was replaced by a malicious code that did not allow the computer to reboot. After that, a message asking for a ransom was displayed on the computer screen. The problem is that Petya did not create a copy of the corrupted MBR. Thus, nothing could save the hard drive and all the data stored on it.
How are malware and ransomware viruses spread?
Malicious people spread mainly through emails with fake links to something that can be very interesting to the user. If a person opens it, he will be taken to a fake site that is extremely similar to the real one. Then, in order to access interesting information or the desired program, the user will be asked to download a specific program. If the user downloads it, it will infect your computer.
Sites and advertisements promising free access to movies or music are also some of the main sources of cyber attacks. They allow fraudsters to track your actions and steal your personal data. This is very dangerous because it is not known why the scammers will take advantage of this – the consequences can be devastating!
How to protect yourself from malware using VPN
The most effective and important way to protect your computer from malware and ransomware viruses is to back up your data more often. Another reliable way of protection is to use a VPN service.
Using the VPN service, you can work anonymously on the network, that is, it will be more difficult for hackers to track your computer.
Many high-end VPN services warn users when they try to click on suspicious links. In addition, all data that enters the network through the VPN server is securely encrypted, so hackers remain out of reach.
Looking for a VPN service that can protect your computer from cyber threats? Check out our list of the most trusted VPN services.