What the Tech? How a Ransomware Attack Works

Private companies, government agencies, local police departments, hospitals and universities are being targeted by hackers using something called ransomware.

You’ve probably heard about it in recent days after hackers shut down a gas pipeline from Greensboro, N.C to Woodbine, MD. One of the largest and most important gas pipelines in the United States.

This ransomware attack is underway as the Washington DC Police Department deals with its own network attack demanding $4 million.

What is ransomware and how has it evolved in recent years?

Ransomware is a type of malware that anyone can purchase on the dark or deep web for as little as $10. The software is created to encrypt files of any computer network that installs it.

Years ago, ransomware targeted consumers on their home computer; demanding several thousand dollars in Bitcoin to release the files. Those who didn’t pay would lose all of the files as they were destroyed by the ransomware hackers.

Over the past few years, hackers have begun targeting companies, governments, healthcare companies and schools in hopes of a much bigger payoff.

You might think large companies would have software in place to thwart ransomware attacks but that has not been the case.
Ransomware attacks more than doubled in 2020.

The pandemic made protecting networks more difficult for companies as many of their employees are working from home and away from their I.T. experts. Some are even working on their personal computer connected to the company’s network.

How do employees protect their employers from ransomware attacks? The first step is to have an anti-malware/anti-virus program running and up to date. The next step, and maybe most important, is for employees to be careful what they click on.

Ransomware programs will begin installing the software the second someone clicks on the link.

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