Ransomware – A Beginner’s Guide (2023)

What Is Ransomware?  

Ransomware is a malware that enters the victim’s system. The primary aim behind this is to extort money from the victim. The attackers hold personal files, financial information, pictures, and documents until and unless the victim pays the ransom amount demanded by the attackers.

It is one of the most creative criminal business to earn money in today’s time.

Let’s understand this with the help of an infographic –


How Ransomware Works?    

  1. The majority of ransomware enters into the system through a malicious link or attachment. As soon as the victim clicks on such attachments or clicks on the link, the malware activates.
  2. Once the malware is activated, it takes over the system and encrypts the victim’s personal information and documents.
  3. The next time the victim tries to access the documents, they receive a notification asking for the mathematical key. The victim requires this mathematical key to re-access the documents.
  4. The victim pays the amount asked by the attackers (generally in the form of Bitcoin).
  5. Once the victim pays the amount, the attacker sends the mathematical key, and the victim gets full access.

How to prevent ransomware?  

  1. Don’t click on unverified links – Don’t click on the links in the spam or unverified websites. As soon as the link is clicked, malware is installed, and the device will be infected.
  2. Ignore untrusted attachments – Another way ransomware can enter the device is by downloading untrusted attachments from spam emails. Properly analyze the mail, and confirm that it is sent from a trusted source; only then download any attachment.
  3. Download only from trusted sites – To reduce the risk of downloading ransomware in the system, do not download any file or media from an untrusted site. All the reputed websites use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Before downloading anything, look in the search bar that the website URL has HTTPS.
  4. Don’t give personal data – Cybercriminals try to take out maximum personal information about the victim beforehand. They try to contact the victim through call, chat, or mail and ask for personal information. Don’t give your personal information to anyone before verifying the person’s identity or company asking for the info.
  5. Don’t use unfamiliar USBs – Never insert USBs or any other removable storage device into your system before knowing where they come from. Cybercriminals may install malware software to these storage devices and leave them in public places to attract people.
  6. Use a VPN while using public WiFi – While using public WiFi, the system is more vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Try not to use public WiFi to stay safe, but if you still want to use it, be more careful and use a secure Virtual Private Network.
  7. Backup complete data – If you still face a ransomware attack after taking all these measures, you can save your data by backing it up. The best option is to back up the business data on the cloud server because your data will be isolated from the device, and no one can access it.
  8. Use updated security software – To ensure the highest security level for the device, always use updated security software. Each update of the software adds some extra security features that maximize the protection of the device.

What to do when infected? 

  1. Isolate the device – If one device is infected with a ransomware attack, isolate it from any internet connection or network. This will stop the spread of ransomware software to other devices connected through the same network or internet connection.
  2. Never pay ransom – Don’t pay the ransom amount demanded by the cybercriminals because there is no surety that they will release the files and documents once the ransom amount is paid. They may demand more money once the initial amount is paid. Moreover, paying the ransom amount encourages the cybercriminals to commit these sort of crimes again and again.
  3. Use ransomware decryption tool – Use ransomware decryption software to decrypt files and regain access. Many companies make different decryption tools for different types of ransomware. Contact them when infected for the correct decryption tool.

What are your views?

About Nolan Foster

With 20+ years of expertise in building cloud-native services and security solutions, Nolan Foster spearheads Public Cloud and Managed Security Services at Ace Cloud Hosting. He is well versed in the dynamic trends of cloud computing and cybersecurity.
Foster offers expert consultations for empowering cloud infrastructure with customized solutions and comprehensive managed security.

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