While disruptive spam and phishing emails can cause chaos for an enterprise’s business processes, malicious software known as ransomware is stealing headlines by attacking companies both small and large around the world.

Certain to be among the subjects discussed at the European Union’s annual event known as European Cybersecurity Month (ECSM), ransomware has seen a sharp spike during the recent pandemic, with many organisations and institutions plagued by malicious operators. From colleges and universities, to healthcare centres and corporations, ransomware attacks have breached networks and made demands for payment in return for stolen data.

By studying this malevolent form of cybercrime, industry professionals like those attending ECSM are always working to find new defensive solutions that can protect enterprise networks, along with the sensitive information they retain on file.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a specific type of software maliciously engineered with the purpose of infecting a, network, service, or the devices connected to them, and to effectively block user access to data files or services until a ransom payment is delivered.

Several variants of ransomware have so far been categorised and examined while attempting to coerce payments from victims through demands made in a digital ransom notification, left digitally. Sometimes taking the form of landing page, or a binary document within a file, ransom notes typically inform users that systems or services have been locked, and that confidential material has been encrypted. They also warn victims that their data will either remain encrypted unless ransom payments are made.

Ransom payments are typically asked to be made in open-source cryptocurrencies like Monero or Bitcoin which have a reputation for being difficult to track by law enforcement officers and next to impossible to reverse after transfer.

Some ransomware operators will not only infiltrate enterprise systems and encrypt data but simultaneously exfiltrate it, stealing the information. In these two-prong ransomware attacks, malicious operators will threaten victims with the disclosure of confidential data on built-for-purpose sites based on the dark web if they refuse to pay up.

How do I protect against ransomware?

Ransomware is usually delivered by phishing emails or via the penetration of enterprise portals employing hacked user credentials. Ransomware downloads via social media channels and online chat messaging apps are not unheard of either, and servers based online without adequate security measures in position can also be susceptible to attacks.

Training staff to identify phishing messages and instructing them to never click on links or download attachments from unverified sources is prudent to preventing ransomware attacks. Keeping anti-malware software installed on all devices up to date is also essential.

Backing up important systems and the files they contain is crucial, so services are never disrupted by infiltration. When ransomware attacks encrypt important data, it can easily be restored from backups, reducing the power of threats.

Ransomware operators cannot encrypt data that is already indecipherable. The secure platform from Galaxkey uses powerful three-layer encryption that stops ransomware gangs from accessing private data and stealing it. Get in touch with our professional team today and protect your data from malicious actors with set of specialist security tools.