How Does Ransomware Spread Globally?

New Ransomware Attack – Texas Government agencies become Victim

Ransomware is a type of malware that involves encrypting a company’s or individual’s useful data or blocking users from accessing their computer systems in exchange for a given amount of money. Cybercriminals are always on the look-out for creatives means for getting a hold of your data so that they can have them at ransom. Every day you hear of someone’s account being hacked. But, how does ransomware spread? You ask yourself.

It is a common question that most people ask and wonder, especially when the attack strikes. This article delves into seven common ways through which Ransomware has and still manages to spread globally. They include the following.

Email Attachments

Email is a common avenue for ransomware transmission. Malicious attachments are sent to the emails of unsuspecting internet users. The malware spreads once the malicious email is opened. Ransomware can be transmitted through numerous forms comprising ZIP files, Excel Spreadsheets, PDFs, plus word documents.

Once you open the attachment containing Ransomware, the attacker may choose to execute the attack immediately or wait for a period of, say, a week or a month to deploy it. The attack could be in the form of encryption of the victim’s personal data or locking out the victim from using their computer systems.

Attackers often focus on particular companies or renowned individuals and draft emails in a way that they will look believable to the victims. Therefore, the attacker carries out a thorough research on the victims to write a likely email. It is worth noting that the more authentic the email, the higher its likelihood of being opened by the recipient.

Malicious URLs

Cybercriminals often utilize emails plus social media channels to launch their ransomware attacks. They put malicious links into the numerous messages they send out to their target recipients.

The attackers often structured in a way that the recipient can sense some notions of urgency or secrecy in the links. Doing so makes the victim click on the malicious link without suspecting a thing.

You end up wondering how does Ransomware spread. It is easy. Clicking the malicious link prompts the Ransomware to download into the victim’s computer device, which then encrypts the whole of your system, holding them at ransom. Personal data and any other useful information regarding a company or individual is rendered inaccessible to the owner, which possesses immense risk.

Malvertising

This is also known as malicious advertising. It is currently a prevalent means for the transmission of Ransomware. Malvertising utilizes similar tools plus infrastructure that is often employed to display genuine adverts online.

What happens is that the attacker buys an advertising avenue, which they then connect to an exploit kit. The adverts are often made attractive to unsuspecting online users. The adverts could be comprised of offers for unrestricted software, a stimulating image, or a message.

The exploit kit works fast to scan your computer networks for data on its software, browser details, plus operating software once you click on it. As it surveys your system, it identifies any vulnerable spot that it can exploit to install the Ransomware in your machine.

Drive-by Downloads

This refers to the download that takes place in your system without you being aware of it. Ransomware generators often utilize the drive-by download mechanism by maintaining the malicious information on their websites or through the injection of the malicious content into authentic websites via the exploitation of susceptibilities known to them.

When you are online and go to the infected sites, the malicious content quickly scans your device for particular vulnerabilities and spontaneously deploys the Ransomware.

This is a severe form of launching a ransomware attack as it only requires one to visit the already infected site for it to execute itself in your system. There is no opening or installation of malicious content.

Network Propagation

In today’s world, there are numerous variants of Ransomware capable of encrypting more than your local system. These new variants are advanced and can self-propagate and shift laterally to additional devices within the network. Such attacks, if successful, can cripple the operation of a company.

Pirated Software

Pirated software, better known as cracked software, can be suitable transmitters of Ransomware. Moreover, the websites where the pirated software is found are more vulnerable to malvertising plus drive-by downloads.

Also, using pirated software can heighten your vulnerability to ransomware infection. That could be explained by the absence of updates of the cracked software from the developer. Therefore, any critical security updates by the developer do not get to you.

USB drives plus Portable Computers

It would help if you were very careful of the USB drives plus portable computers that you connect to your devices as they are perfect transmitters of Ransomware. Clicking your devices to infected USB drives plus portable computers can result in Ransomware encrypting your local machine, besides spreading throughout your company’s network.

Conclusion

Every day you ask yourself how does ransomware spreads? Ransomware spreads fast, especially when individuals are not careful about double-checking the suspicious emails and messages they get or the suspicious websites they visit day in day out. It would help if you were mindful of the sites you visit, the downloads you allow into your devices, the unknown devices you connect to your devices, and the cunning emails you get. Also, look out for pirated software plus suspicious URLs you are directed to click on, and you will be safe.

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