I’ve mentioned time and time again the dangers of becoming an online-dependant society. I’ve also mentioned the rising popularity of ransomware. And now, according to recent reports, ransomware could be getting even more powerful, and even more dangerous.
Firstly, I should provide a brief overview of ransomware. In essence, it is a type of malware that locks down its victims’ computers and grants freedom once a ransom is paid; hence the name, ransomware. Ransomware has become a growing concern as its popularity among hackers has grown significantly in recent years. There were a reported 638 million ransomware attacks in 2016 alone. Those are staggering numbers. And just a few months ago, the world’s largest cyberattack was completed using…ransomware. This is a serious threat to our safety.
So how could it get any worse?
First and foremost, it has to be noted that ransomware, while at first glance may seem like the problem, can actually be a distraction. For example, the Petya ransomware attack from this year not only held computers ransom, it also contained another malicious malware that wiped data on machines. While you’re distracted by the ransomware’s threat, you are left completely blind to the fact that the virus is causing more damage than you realize.
Ransomware is also making a big push to make drastic impacts on not just civilian computers, but corporate ones as well. If a ransomware hacker can gain access to computer systems of large companies, then things could get downright awful. And you may be thinking that large corporations would never pay hackers to get their information back, but it isn’t as simple as that. Large companies and organizations contain many company secrets that can not be disclosed (Coca Cola’s secret recipe, Apple’s source code for iOS). It’s incredibly reasonable to think that a large corporation would pay large sums of money to hackers in order to keep their information secure.
Hackers have already shown just how unprotected several of our largest corporations truly are. If the necessary precautions are not taken, ransomware could make life a living nightmare. It is just another reminder to make sure that you have your computers and personal devices protected from malware.
Good luck and stay protected.