Blog / Ransomware: What It Is, How to Prevent and Remove It (PART 1)

Ransomware: What It Is, How to Prevent and Remove It (PART 1)

by SW Team

At SW Hosting, the security of our audience and customers is a priority. That is why today we present this blog, which we have divided into three parts, with the aim of providing you with knowledge about Ransomware.

In the first part, we will look at what Ransomware is, the different types and the most common examples, so that you can understand this cyber threat. In the second part, we will show you how to prevent and detect Ransomware, so that you can keep your information safe and prevent possible attacks. Finally, in the third part, we will guide you through the Ransomware removal process in case you are affected by this threat, providing you with the necessary steps to recover your system and data. So let's get started!

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to systems and files, usually by demanding a ransom to unlock and restore them. Cybercriminals encrypt or block access to data, which can result in significant data loss and financial damage. In other words, it is a growing cyber threat that threatens users' privacy and data integrity, with potentially devastating consequences on both an individual and corporate level.

The most common examples are CryptoLocker and WannaCry, the latter of which we've blogged about, and you can it read here. We also have another one on Petya, which you can read here. But now we will look at the different types of Ransomware and then the examples.

Types of Ransomware

In the vast and shadowy world of Ransomware, there are many variants, each with its own characteristics and methods. Below we explain some of the most notorious and common types of Ransomware:

  • Encrypting Ransomware: This is one of the most common types of Ransomware. It works by encrypting the user's files, making them inaccessible until the ransom is paid. Popular examples are CryptoLocker and Locky.

  • Locking Ransomware: Unlike its encrypting counterpart, locking Ransomware does not encrypt files, but completely blocks access to the system or device. The victim is presented with a lock screen that prevents them from accessing their system.

  • Ransomware Scareware: A variant of Ransomware that uses emotional manipulation tactics to scare users into believing their computers are infected with viruses. It attempts to persuade people to buy useless software or provide personal information.

  • Ransonware Leakware: Focuses on stealing confidential information and threatens to release it unless a ransom is paid.

  • Ransomware as a Service (RaaS): Is a cybercrime business model in which cybercriminals rent or sell access to Ransomware to third parties. This has increased the threat of Ransomware by making attacks more accessible, resulting in an increase in the number of attacks worldwide.

  • MBR (Master Boot Record) Ransomware: This affects a computer's Master Boot Record (MBR) and corrupts its code to display a ransom message. This renders the system inoperable until a ransom is paid.

Best Known Examples of Attacks

We will now show you some of the most well-known examples of Ransomware attacks, which illustrate the diversity of strategies used by cybercriminals.

  • WannaCry: The attack, which spread in May 2017, exploited a vulnerability in Windows systems to encrypt files and demand a ransom in bitcoin. The attack quickly spread across networks, highlighting the serious consequences of cyber threats around the world. As we told you earlier, there is a blog about this attack if you are curious, you can read it here.

  • Petya: Encrypts entire hard drives, making it a highly destructive threat. It spreads using a variety of techniques, including email attachments and exploiting vulnerabilities in systems. Its variant, "NotPetya", wreaked havoc around the world in 2017. We also have a blog about this attack, as we mentioned earlier if you want more information, you can read it here.

  • Ransomware Dharma Brrr: This is a variant of the Dharma ransomware. It encrypts the victim's files and changes the file extension to ".brrr". The attackers demand a ransom in Bitcoin in exchange for the decryption key.

  • Jigsaw: This attack is notable for its intimidating approach. When it infects a system, it not only encrypts the victim's files, but also threatens to delete them one by one unless a ransom is paid. Its interface displays the face of "Billy the Puppet" from the "Saw" film, causing extreme anxiety in victims.

  • Locky: Encrypts files and demands a ransom in Bitcoin for the decryption key. It spreads mainly through phishing emails with malicious attachments. Its name comes from the extension ".locky" added to the encrypted files.

  • CryptoLocker: It is one of the first and most notorious examples of Ransomware. It encrypts files on the victim's computer and demands a ransom in Bitcoin for the decryption key. If the ransom is not paid in time, the key becomes inaccessible, resulting in the permanent loss of the files.

  • Bad Rabbit: It spread via a compromised website pretending to be an Adobe Flash Player update. Once it infected a computer, it encrypted files and demanded a ransom in Bitcoin for the key to decrypt them.

This is the end of part one, where we explained what Ransomware is, its types and the most common examples. Soon, in part 2, we will focus on how to prevent and detect Ransomware. Don't miss the next part, where we'll give you valuable tips on how to protect yourself against this digital threat. Stay tuned!


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