Cyber Ransomware: What you need to know
Cyber ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom payment in order to decrypt them. Ransomware attacks are on the rise, and businesses of all sizes are at risk.
The New Zealand Government recommends not paying a ransom. Payment does not guarantee that you will get your data back, may breach sanctions, and creates harm to others by providing funding for criminal activities.
How does cyber ransomware work?
Cyber ransomware works by exploiting vulnerabilities in a victim’s computer system. Once the ransomware is installed, it will encrypt the victim’s files, making them unreadable. The ransomware will then display a message demanding a ransom payment in order to decrypt the files.
What are the signs of a cyber ransomware attack?
There are a few signs that you may have been the victim of a cyber ransomware attack. These include:
- Your files are suddenly unreadable.
- You see a message demanding a ransom payment.
- Your computer may be running slowly or erratically.
What should you do if you think you have been the victim of a cyber ransomware attack?
If you think you have been the victim of a cyber ransomware attack, there are a few things you should do:
- Do not pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that you will receive the decryption key even if you pay the ransom.
- Report the attack to the police.
- Back up your files. If you have a recent backup, you can restore your files without having to pay the ransom.
- Scan your computer for malware. Use a reputable antivirus or anti-malware program to scan your computer for malware.
- Change your passwords. Change all of your passwords, including your passwords for your email, bank accounts, and other online accounts.
How can you prevent a cyber ransomware attack?
There are a few things you can do to prevent a cyber ransomware attack:
- Keep your software up to date. Software updates often include security patches that can help to protect your computer from malware.
- Use a firewall. A firewall can help to block unauthorised access to your computer.
- Use a strong antivirus or anti-malware program. A reputable antivirus or anti-malware program can help to detect and remove malware.
- Be careful about what emails you open and what links you click on. Ransomware attacks often start with an infected email or a malicious link.
- Back up your files. Having a recent backup of your files will help you to recover if your computer is infected with ransomware.
- Ensure you regularly complete Information Security Awareness Training.
Cyber ransomware is a serious threat, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. By following the tips in this blog post, you can help to keep your computer safe from ransomware attacks.
Implications of paying a ransom
- Paying a ransom to cybercriminals does not guarantee that you will get your data back or that the attack will end.
- Paying a ransom may actually encourage criminals to continue their activities or target you again.
- Paying a ransom may also violate sanctions regimes and result in criminal penalties.
- If a cyber ransom incident affects personal data, you must notify the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals.
In short, paying a ransom is not a good idea.
It is not guaranteed to get you your data back, and it may actually make the problem worse. If you have been the victim of a cyber attack, it is important to contact the authorities and seek professional help.
Here are some additional details about the risks of paying a ransom:
- There is no guarantee that you will get your data back, even if you pay the ransom. In fact, some cybercriminals have been known to double-cross their victims and not provide the decryption key even after payment.
- Paying a ransom may encourage cybercriminals to continue their activities. When cybercriminals see that their victims are willing to pay, they are more likely to target other businesses and individuals.
- Paying a ransom may violate sanctions regimes. Some countries, such as Russia, are subject to sanctions that prohibit businesses from doing business with certain entities. If you pay a ransom to a cybercriminal operating from a sanctioned country, you may be breaking the law.
- If a cyber ransom incident affects personal data, you may be required to notify the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals. The Privacy Act 2020 requires businesses to take steps to protect the privacy of personal information. If a cyber attack results in the unauthorized disclosure of personal information, you may be required to notify the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals.
If you have been the victim of a cyber attack, it is important to contact the authorities and seek professional help. Do not pay a ransom, as it may not get you your data back and it may make the problem worse.