Why You Should Never Open Unknown Emails: Fight Ransomware Attackers

Dubai: Do you think your network is ‘bombproof’? Or are your organization’s digital assets ‘safe’? Think again. No matter how airy you think work or organization’s network is, there’s always a way to get into the most stubborn intruders. From the point of view of hackers, we – the end users – are the best way to make a hack. And this time, those who work from home are valued targets.

What is the connection between ransomware and pandemic?

Make no mistake: we are still in the midst of a health pandemic. And we are also still in the midst of a digital pandemic of attacks on ransoms. These are organized, deliberate attacks on increasingly important targets. There are signs that people are chronically failing with businesses to find ways to keep them at stake.

Why do ransomware attacks increase?

Ransomware attacks increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, say IT security professionals. “There’s one simple reason: more people are working away from the office, where security checks are relatively poor,” said Anoop Kumar Pauval, information manager at Gulf News’ IT department.

“At home, coupled with work via remote data access, end users tend to be less protected and more vulnerable,” Pauval added. He cites the example, Check Point Research (CPR)’s latest report (published in May) found a 102% increase in ransomware attacks in 2021 compared to early 2020. ‘There are no signs that the attacks are slowing down not.’

What is the usual route of a ransomware attack?

Most ransomware attacks exploit the vulnerability of employees to infiltrate the organization’s network. Most hacks are done in this way, which are called ‘social engineering’ attacks.

How do links pose a threat?

Emails are the most powerful tool in the arsenal of cybercriminals. It comes in the form of a link or an attachment. If you open an unknown attachment or click on a link in an email sent to you by a hacker, you will be overtaken.

How can you tell the difference between legitimate email and hacker email?

There are email senders among people you know. They tend to be safer, but that does not mean you should not be careful (especially with forwards).

Some spam is obvious, but others are very cleverly designed, beyond the filters. This is done by deception masters designed to deceive recipients.

Phishing email is the number one way hackers can bypass firewalls, filters, and antivirus problems.

Do I always have to trust emails from a friend or colleague?

No, even if it’s from a friend or colleague, take a break before clicking continue. Look at the content of the message they are sending along: does it sound like it is coming from them? A smarter way to avoid malware or phishing is to call the sender or, if possible, speak in person to confirm that he sent the email. Simply delete if you can not be sure of its authenticity.

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Top 5 biggest ransomware:

Why are ransomware so disruptive?

The threat is real, as recent examples may show. There is often a financial motive involved. The demands are also real. But the damage to operations can destroy an institution’s or organization’s reputation.

How much is the average ransom?

As we have seen, attacks that capture the data and systems of an organization increase. One study shows that ransomware attacks have increased by almost 500% since the onset of the pandemic.

The average ransom payment also continued to climb, rising 43% from the last quarter of 2020 to an average of more than $ 200,000, according to one report.

$ 200 000

the average ransomware payout during Q1 2021

Worse, a ransom claim is often accompanied by a breach and exploitation of industry data – and a concomitant extortion that threatens to disclose this data unless additional payments are made.

News of attacks on the CNA Financial and Colonial Pipelines are recent well-known examples of burglary events. There is a much larger section with unknown payouts for which the victims never declare the hack in public.

Who are the perpetrators?

They evolve, from the stand-alone hackers to what are now known as ‘criminal collectives’, including the DarkSide, who behave like state-sponsored attackers. These collectives have created virtual organizations that are sharpening their techniques to target specific sectors and businesses. They wait patiently for death.

How big is the ‘internet crime’ threat?

What’s the way around scams, spam and ransomware attacks?

This is the dark underbelly of the online world. Cybercrime is a growing, extremely successful and profitable “industry”. It is estimated that the cost of cybercrime will grow by 15% per year and will reach $ 10.5 billion by 2025. If it were a country, it would be the third largest “economy” in the world – after that of the US states and China.

What is the way to prevent ransomware attacks?

Image when governments, healthcare providers, online retailers like Amazon / ebay / Alibaba or other large organizations spot among cybercriminals? There is certainly a way around the current state of affairs.

Intranets – closed, own networks – can hold the key, experts say. As the internet evolves, a new trend emerges with two different sides.

- Free internet for all:

This is the free internet and filtered, minimally regulated “Wild West” type that everyone has access to. This is the playground of the growing ranks of internet criminals and everyone else, including you and me.

- Intranet

The second is ‘World Wide Intranet’ – widely accessible but strictly controlled sites with strict access control to prevent criminal activity. Years ago, closed corporate intranets became popular. This second type is rapidly evolving.

As such, security measures and conditional access via multifactor authentication will become standard.

The internet needs a semblance of control – the price of not having it is immeasurably greater than the harm of any ‘restrictions’’. This is an inevitable consequence of the security threats around us, which endanger not only networks but also the end users who use them.