Ransomware Revival in Q1 of 2019 Leads to Stolen Credentials

Robert BuheckerCybersecurity and VulnerabilitiesLeave a Comment

Ransomware Revival in 2019 Exposes Personal Data

In 2019, ransomware is back and more destructive than ever. A report issued by McAfee states that now, cybercriminals are targeting weak IoT devices. This allows them to extract tremendous amounts of information from companies. In just one quarter of 2019, cybercriminals gained access to over 2.2 billion accounts. They extracted personal and corporate information as a result. The attacks were so sophisticated that in addition to computers, cybercriminals hacked into Wi-Fi-enabled coffee machines and various personal devices.

Dangers of Malware

Malware is designed to intentionally cause damage to a computer, server, or network. This attack leads into the demand for ransom from the victim. Malware presents several hazards for home and commercial users. Chief among them are:

  • Hardware failure
  • Data loss or theft
  • Inoperable computers
  • Crippled system networks
  • Viruses

For home system users, an infection is the most common type of attack. An infection can cause the loss of substantial volumes of information. This information may or may not be easily replaced. Hackers may sometimes steal information used to access an individual’s bank account or other financial resources. On corporate systems, ransom attacks can cause the spread of spam, which increases communication activity over the web. Depending on the amount of activity generated, the corporate end user can experience a loss of information or the collapse of an entire network.

How Hackers Install Ransomware

Hackers can infect systems in several ways. Most (about 70%) use a method called spearphishing to access operating systems. Spearphishing is an email-based communications scam that targets individuals, organizations, or industries. It is usually used with malicious intent, but it can also install unwanted software on an end user’s device.

Once hackers gain access to a system, they can acquire a variety of information such as social security numbers and financial information. Malicious software can steal personal financial information, bank account credentials, social security numbers, and more. Some types of software can steal credit card information, too. The information can be used either directly or distributed through the underground network. Personal data collected is sometimes sold to a third party for ill-intended use.

What Systems are Most Vulnerable?

Many operating systems are vulnerable to malicious attacks. The most at-risk groups include:

  • Android OS
  • Debian Linux
  • Ubuntu OS
  • Leap OS
  • SUSE
  • Linux Kernel
  • Mac OS X
  • Windows 10

In 2016, Android OS had over 520 recorded vulnerabilities, making it the most susceptible operating system to a cybercriminal attack.

The Toll of Malicious Software Attacks

Unfortunately, malware attacks have risen by 50% in 2019 over 2018. Experts say that hackers have greater access to mobile devices and mobile-based banking applications. Malicious software attacks have increased by 154% on iOT devices in 2019. Most attacks (85%) come through in hazardous email attachments each day. About 38% are masked as a Microsoft Office file. By 2021, the annual cost of malicious software attacks is projected to reach $6 trillion. The number of attacks is expected to rise as more devices are connected to the internet.

How to Protect Against Attacks

End users can protect against malicious attacks in several ways. This includes updating your operating system, plugins, and browsers. On mobile phones, it’s important to always install software updates to prevent security breaches and attacks. Enabling click-to-play plugins and getting rid of old software or software that you don’t use often is another good way to ward off ransom attacks.

A good example is using outdated versions of Microsoft Windows, which have limited support and are more vulnerable to attacks. Older versions of media players and Adobe Reader are other computer hazards to be aware of. If you still use them, considering updating to newer systems with more support and security.

If you find that your operating systems have been attacked, be sure to call Secure Forensics. We can remove harmful ransomware from your operating system. We can also investigate your system to find out what information has been compromised by a cyber attack and when the system infiltration occurred. No matter when the attack occurs or where you are located, don’t worry. Our expert staff can deploy anywhere in the world within 24 hours to prevent further damage. If your operating system has been compromised, contact us immediately to prevent information loss and get your system started again.