The fourth installment of Cryptowall has been released and this time it is worse than ever. Tactics that evade anti-viruses and thwart any attempts to undo the damage caused by the ransomware seem feeble. This version is seemingly worse because now it can encrypt files without the victim even knowing that they are affected.
Cryptowall has been known to cause several million dollars in damages to targeted businesses and private users who have no alternative but to pay the ransom to the criminals. The new and ‘improved’ cryptowall is better coded and it is well thought out so as to take advantage of any vulnerability. Damages caused by Cryptowall have amounted to $325 million dollars, as released by the Cyber Threat Alliance. With this edition, businesses and potential targets fear for the worse.
What is Cryptowall?
Cryptowall is a ransomware. A ransomware is a type of malicious software that basically blocks all access to users into their computers and access is only granted once ransom is paid to the person who is using the software. Ransomware is obviously a crime as users are held for ransom; however paying the ransom is not a crime as stated by the FBI.
Cryptowall came onto the scene in September, 2013 and as most ransomware, it spread through infected emails. At first the targets were just private computers but then it quickly grew and went onto target business and companies.
How Does it Affect People?
Cryptowall is mainly spread through emails that have attachments or links. Unsuspecting victims who download the attachments or click the link have their computers affected by the ransomware. Ransomware can affect your computer in two ways. It can either totally freeze/lock your computer. In this case, a message will display that will demand ransom. Apart from this, it can encrypt files on the computer’s hard drive using a large key that can’t be undone in any way that is feasible. Cryptowall uses the latter method. It propagates through Trojan and runs on a payload.
How Can People Protect Themselves?
Even though ransomware like Cryptowall seems like a bigger issue to solve, it still is preventable and solvable. The methods to avoid getting affected by Cryptowall are pretty easy but can end up saving you a lot.
One should always be cautious of any suspicious email they receive. Be on the look for any email that directs you to any webpage through a link. Do not download any attachment sent from anyone you don’t know. Some criminals who plan the crime might use the names of people you know. If that is the case, make sure to check with the real people that the criminals are posing as, because no one would send emails with attachments out of the blue.
One should always keep their systems updates as outdated systems are more vulnerable to attacks. Updates might include anti-ransomware software. One should also back up their important data regularly. If you wish to go the extra mile, you can purchase dedicated software that fights against ransomware.
If you would like more information on how to keep your data safe, contact us today.