Ransomware and Rogues
As we've discussed in part before, hackers are quite devious and maintain a large variety of tools and skillsets to cause havoc. Even more worrisome, these hackers may not even have any actual skills and may be using pre-made toolkits. Indeed, with the Internet of Things expanding and computers becoming more central to our lives, malware, such as trojans, ransomware, and scare tactics can cause damage to firms and individuals. So, what is malware? How does it work? Are these threats that can be unleashed by any individual with an internet connection and the ability to use a toolkit?
First, it's important to detail some of the basic threats that hackers use. Breaking it down, a hacker can use viruses, worms, or trojans to cause harm to a computer-all three relying on an inadvertent or accidental download. Following that, a virus may replicate so long as the host program, antivirus software, or infected operating system don't detect it. A worm may replicate and spread without being detected at all. A trojan may simply be a malicious program, that does not self-replicate although viruses and worms may have trojan traits. Trojans, for a business, are the most damaging as they are the primary vehicle for cybercriminals.
Not only may a trojan steal information, it can also carry a type of malware called "ransomware". Ransomware is unique, in that it may not just steal information, but can hold a computer and its data hostage until the funds are paid by the victim. It does so by encrypting data on the computer, promising to decrypt the data after the payment is remitted. Thereafter, the computer may be sent a key, though it is worth remembering there is no honor among thieves. Even if a payment is delivered, there is no guarantee that a computer will be unlocked. Thus, a business or individual may be better served attempting to take the device to a professional to attempt a legitimate decryption, although there is still a risk of data loss. Lazier efforts may instead only attempt to scare individuals with a full screen pop-up and no actual lock on the computer.
It is important to note that damages from ransomware attacks may be impossible to recover. While there are certainly legal claims a person may generally raise, however, without proper identification of the hacker there is simply no good way to pinpoint a defendant. Yet, defenses will always exist in most cases. In addition to knowing the exploits that criminals, such as script kiddies can use, just avoiding potential risks through multiple backups and updated security features can avoid countless headaches.
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