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How To Combat Ransomware Threats

ransomware

Let’s find out about ransomware attacks and how to avoid falling prey to them.  

Ransomware is malware. Most cybercriminals rely on such malware attacks to generate profits.

In a ransomware attack, cyber criminals hold device control – and therefore locally stored data – for a ransom, which victims typically pay in Bitcoin or with other virtual currencies.

Ransomware: A growing threat

According to reports from Checkpoint Research, as of May 2021, there has been a 102% surge in ransomware attacks globally compared to the beginning of 2020. These attacks show no signs of abating. Ransomware attacks are very lucrative for cybercriminals

Primary targets of attacks

While home users were initially the primary targets of ransomware, business networks have been increasingly targeted by criminals. Servers, healthcare, and utilities (e.g., the Colonial Pipeline attack) have also become high-profile targets for malicious ransomware attackers.

According to Check Point Research, as of 2021, the industry sectors with the highest volumes of ransomware attack attempts across the world are healthcare, with an average of 109 attacks attempts per organization every week, followed by the utility sector with 59 attacks and insurance/legal with 34. 

How to protect against attacks

To protect your organization from the most prevalent ransomware threats, McAfee offers several recommendations. 

Block malicious browser popups

In May, McAfee revealed that it detected an increase in the use of deceptive popups in web browsers. While some are plain annoying, others trick unsuspecting users into taking an action that could result in a malware infection. 

You should review the name of the site sending the notification in the actual popup. Go to the notification settings section in your browser. Look for the site name, click the ellipsis icon next to the entry, and select Block.

Review Windows push notifications 

Today, scammers are increasingly impersonating Windows push notifications to deploy malicious apps that can compromise user and system information.

Protect yourself from these types of dubious notifications by going to the Windows Update screen under Settings to check for updates rather than respond to a suspicious notification.

Closing thoughts

Ensure that all devices on your network receive regular and prompt security patches. This is the biggest defense against any hacking attempt, including ransomware. It is better not to use outdated systems running unsupported operating systems like Windows XP.

Also read: Tips To Protect Your Personal Information After A Data Breach