Ransomware is getting lots of news coverage and airtime as hackers target high-profile companies and even governments worldwide. This has many wondering, “How does ransomware work?” and “Do I need to be worried about ransomware?”
The answer to the latter question is virtually always “yes.” If you have files, data and other digital assets, then you are potentially vulnerable to ransomware. Individuals, small businesses, large corporations and even governments have all fallen victim to ransomware.
The figures on ransomware are a bit alarming. According to some estimates, a ransomware attack occurs every 11 seconds and damages from these attacks could total over $20 billion by the end of 2021. It’s estimated that one-quarter of all large corporations have been infected with ransomware at least once.
The proliferation of ransomware attacks isn’t slowing either. A 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that ransomware-related incidents doubled over a one-year period.
What is Ransomware and How Does it Work?
The workings of ransomware are actually very simple. A hacker creates malware that infects devices and servers.
Once installed, the ransomware runs quietly in the background, unseen and undetected. The malware encrypts files and data, rendering them useless without the decryption key. Usually, there is no apparent problem until the user goes to access their data. That’s when they’ll encounter a startling message or alert informing them of the ransom.
With some malware attacks, you could be denied access to your files until the ransom is paid. Others will threaten to publicly release or destroy files or other critical digital assets if a ransom is not paid within a specific timeframe.
Unfortunately, the hackers don’t always keep their side of the bargain concerning the decryption of your files and data. Figures vary, but it’s estimated that just ten percent of those who pay the ransom actually regain access to all of their data. Suffice it to say that a majority of those who do pay the ransom will only get some of their data restored.
How is Ransomware Spread?
Ransomware can infect virtually anything and everything, from mobile devices, to laptop computers, on-prem and virtual cloud servers, websites, enterprise software and mobile apps.
The method of malware infection varies according to the exact target of the attack. A large percentage of ransomware is spread in emails with a malicious link that, once clicked, initiates the malware installation. Malicious advertisements are another method for deploying ransomware.
It’s also possible for hackers to inject malware onto websites, servers, mobile apps, and enterprise software platforms. Hackers can use “backdoors” and other vulnerabilities as access points. Others use phishing emails to trick users into disclosing login information. Large-scale data breaches also contribute to the problem, making it possible to buy users’ login data on the “dark web.”
How Do You Avoid Ransomware Attacks?
A majority of ransomware attacks can be avoided if you take the right precautions, such as establishing firewalls, using immutable backups and training employees on best practices such as how to create strong passwords and how to recognize a suspicious email.
Malware protection software is another option for companies and organizations that are especially vulnerable to ransomware. Perhaps the best option is to use immutable (uneditable) backups and/or offline backups of mission-critical data, so any compromised data can be restored.
When it comes to protecting your mobile app or enterprise software platform, you’ll need an experienced development company that’s well-versed on today’s malware threats and the best methods for minimizing vulnerabilities. That’s precisely what you get when you turn to the team here at 7T, where we specialize in digital transformation by developing mobile apps and software platforms that feature emerging technologies, from mobile app development, custom software projects such as CRM platforms and ERP development, or Snowflake data solutions. Our team is extremely knowledgeable on what it takes to build a secure mobile app or custom software platform — one that’s free of vulnerabilities that would allow for a successful ransomware attack. In fact, our team has built multiple platforms with military-grade encryption and geotargeting, amongst other features.
At 7T, our development team works with company leaders who are seeking to solve problems and drive ROI through digital transformation. We’ve earned a reputation as an innovative Dallas software development company, as 7T integrates cutting-edge solutions into virtually every project, whether it’s mobile app development, CRM platforms or ERP development, and data solutions. We’re here to deliver collaborative, multi-phased software development services to clients in all business sectors.