Cyber Security Risks - Ransomware Gangs
You can’t adequately explain the importance of cybersecurity without reviewing the role hackers play in the computer sphere. When envisioning hackers, most of us probably conjure the stereotypical image of a hooded guy working furiously behind his keyboard. In reality, hacking is much more complex than that.
Hacking is often carried out by groups of people. Known as ransomware gangs, these groups will obtain valuable data and then use it to extort money. Unfortunately, this issue is all too common – in just the first half of 2021, over 1,000 companies were victims of ransomware attacks. Here’s a closer look at what these gangs do and how you can protect yourself from them.
Ransomware is a harmful type of software that can infiltrate your computer system and prohibit you from accessing your own data. The hacker will then ask for payment in exchange for giving you your information back – hence the name, ransomware.
The amount of money that ransomware gangs ask for varies between attacks, but on average they usually demand anywhere between $200 and $400. This money is almost always requested in the form of cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin), which is easy to transfer but hard to trace.
How Computers Become Affected
Ransomware gangs can spread their malicious software using any of the following methods:
A phishing email is a fraudulent email designed to make you click on a link or download software. The email may appear to be from a trusted source, such as your bank or a well-known company. Phishing attacks are one of the most common methods for spreading malware, with 75% of companies experiencing them in 2020.
These false messages can also be shared through social media and online instant messaging applications. If a ransomware gang manages to get access to the social media account of your friend, they can use it to try and get you to click on a link.
Finally, some ransomware gangs may gain access to your system through drive-by downloading. This occurs when you unwittingly visit a malicious site, and it automatically downloads malware without your knowledge.
Famous Ransomware Gangs
Small ransomware gangs or individual hackers may try and target regular, everyday people in the hopes of making some extra cash. Large ransomware gangs, however, will usually go after bigger corporations and organizations. Some of the most well-known ransomware gangs include:
Each of these ransomware gangs has its own methods, motivations and preferred victims. However, their actions boil down to the same thing: they all want to infiltrate private systems in exchange for monetary gain.
While nobody can 100% prevent a ransomware attack, you can educate yourself on phishing attempts and learn how to identify malicious websites and links. Taking these small steps can go a long way in protecting the network security of yourself or your small business. These initiatives can also help protect against individual hackers. Even a single hacker can pose a serious threat to your security.