The ransomware that hit computers all over the world

Ransomware attacks keep taking the world by surprise, as the latest widespread ransomware WannaCrypt0r (also known as WannaCrypt, WannaCry, or WCry) shows in a rather sad scenario, that affected tens of thousands of users, companies, and even hospitals, in over 90 countries. Despite us, as security experts, advocating for extra caution on the topic it is easier to pretend things like that will happen only to others and go on as before.

Unpleasant as they are massive ransomware attacks have been expected to increase in both frequency and intensity for some time now. We are actually witnessing an entire cyber crime branch being built on this type of attacks, as they allow for millions of dollars to be raised from the victims with relative ease.

What is ransomware?

There are two types of ransomware: crypto-ransomware that encrypts files (rendering them unreadable), and screen-locking ransomware that locks the home screen. In both cases, the authors of malicious software demand a ransom from its victims to access the files and device.

Ransomware is frequently spread via email: a cyber criminal sends an email with an attachment. The unsuspecting user opens the document (or javascript file), which looks like gibberish. The document recommends enabling macros “if the data encoding is incorrect,†which, of course, it is by design. Enabling macros allows the ransomware to be secretly downloaded onto computers via a drive-by download…



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