Ransomware: Cybersecurity, The 3 Steps of a Ransomware Attack, and How to Protect Yourself from a Ransomware Attack

How Hackers Access a Ransomware Account: Cybersecurity, The 3 Steps of a Ransomware Attack, and How to Protect Yourself from a Ransomware Attack. Ransomware attacks have been in the headlines on a regular basis for several years, and they are also the most common type of cyber attack.

An important thing to keep in mind about ransomware attacks and cyber attacks in general, while cyber criminal gangs used to mainly attack large corporations, today everyone is affected. This includes individuals, public authorities, personalities and, of course, small and medium-sized companies.

To effectively prevent a ransomware attack, this necessarily requires knowing how this type of cyberattack works. This is why we are going in this article to discuss the different stages of a ransomware attack and also how to protect yourself from a ransomware attack.

There are three stages involved. But first, let’s take a brief look at everything there is to know about ransomware and ransomware attacks, also known as ransomware.

Ransomware or ransomware: which comes first?

Ransomware malware or “ransomware” is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their personal files or web applications. In exchange for access, the attackers demand a ransom payment from the victims. This is where the name ransomware or ransomware comes from.

Ransomware has been gaining popularity since the 2010s. However, the first versions of this type of malware were developed around 30 years ago, in the late 1980s.

At the time, the perpetrators asked the victims to mail the ransoms. But today, cyber criminal gangs generally demand to be paid by credit card or with crypto assets or cryptocurrencies.

There are several ways that ransomware can infect your computer system and your network. But, to name just a few, there is particularly malicious spam. These are questionable or malicious emails that your email service sends directly to spam.

They can include trapped attachments or links that lead to malicious websites. They rely on social engineering to trick users into clicking links or opening files as attachments. These trapped files often contain malicious programs that take your computer system and network hostage.

There is also another more popular method of ransomware attack, malvertising, also known as malvertising. This method is based on the use of online advertisements. After clicking on a misleading ad, the user will be redirected to a web page that contains one or more exploits.

An exploit, for information, is part of the malware. It is a malicious program that contains executable code with the ability to exploit one or more vulnerabilities in a computer system.

Almost all web applications handle personal and / or commercial data; so much to say sensitive. Personal codes, passwords, email addresses, credit card numbers, health data, and more are at the center of the battle between companies and hackers.

On the one hand, companies, small, medium or large, that seek to defend themselves against intrusions in their information systems. And on the other, increasingly experienced attackers, lured by greed and spurred on by the many breaches too often ignored by their future victims.

According to Fleming Shi, Barracuda’s CTO, a ransomware attack generally takes place in three stages, which in most cases look like this:

Step n1 – Spear phishing or theft of identifiers

This is a phishing attempt that relies more on social engineering or social engineering. The perpetrators of this attack send thousands of phishing emails to gain access to confidential data and then steal the identifiers of the targets.

To fool their targets, hackers come to develop convincing and personalized messages (but beware, often with spelling errors), they set up websites that are reassuring, but rather scam.

It also happens to the cyber hackers to simply buy the identifiers of their targets on the dark web, it is another world, little known by the regular users, but very practiced by the hackers and all the hackers around the world.

Step n2: attack websites and web applications

After collecting (via spear phishing) or purchasing identifiers on the darkweb, criminals move to the next step, which is to attack their target’s web applications or websites, with the aim of accessing their valuable sensitive data.

Being more exposed than others, web applications necessarily have more surface and, therefore, varied and vulnerable functionalities. There are multiple layers for them to work, there are so many entry points to be used by hackers.

Web applications, main targets of cyberattacks

When exposed to the public, web applications naturally have a large attack surface and possibly functionality with a large number of various potentially vulnerable elements. Even on a secure web server running on a supposedly secure operating system, security vulnerabilities can remain because, most often, they are due to programming errors in the application itself or errors in the software configuration.

In this first post, in a series of articles dedicated to the most common vulnerabilities found during our penetration tests, we will focus on the application layer vulnerabilities of web platforms. We will return to server and API security in more detail in our next articles.

Also, this article is not a judgment call, in the sense that we are aware of the limitations faced by many development teams, CTOs or CISOs: budget, availability, organization, etc. It is also not exculpatory, as attacks are often successful due to negligence that could easily be avoided. The objective of this article is to show why it is important to pay special attention to “security”, from the design phase, throughout the development and life cycle of your web applications to protect against security attacks, more and more numerous and sophisticated.

Step n3: data encryption and ransom demand

The third and final step in a ransomware attack is the encryption of your most important data by hackers. When they finally get access to your data, they encrypt it so that you can’t access it, at least freely.

Depending on their goals, they may be interested in data, company web applications, or customer and employee files. In any case, the loss or disclosure by hackers of this data would always have serious consequences for the company. This is the reason why hackers often have influence over their victims.

Hackers are no longer an exception today. All companies, regardless of their size, but also their field of activity, are susceptible to a ransomware attack.

To protect yourself from these types of cyberattacks, you must in particular strengthen your security system at the level of the messaging service. It would also be convenient to inform users about the different techniques used by criminals.

Everyone in the company should also be aware that the various actions they take on the web can compromise their entire business network. They have an obligation to be vigilant before visiting a website, clicking on links, opening an attachment, or before revealing confidential information.

According to the site of one of our partners,; Says: “According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach would be around $ 3.86 million. Also, the average cost per recording lost or stolen in a data breach is $ 150. Therefore, it is more important than ever to implement measures that can prevent cyberattacks from taking over your accounts, your data and your devices ” . One more reason to pay special attention to cybersecurity.

Hence the importance of raising awareness among employees through the various training courses. It is through these trainings that employees will learn to identify malicious emails, malicious attachments, questionable or trapped sites, trapped ads, feel free to remember the rules for the protection and use of your computers and do not let anything go.

To effectively protect themselves from ransomware attacks, cybersecurity experts also recommend that companies use Artificial Intelligence-based cybersecurity solutions. They could better identify and stop cyber attacks.

Next, you also need to strengthen application-level security (e-commerce site, web form, customer portals, etc.) and access to your company network. Remember that cybercriminals target critical data to retrieve, use, or hold hostage. Therefore, optimal application access protection remains the best solution to prevent data movement across the network.

Since cybercriminals use various strategies, it is also necessary to use multiple defense systems. Beyond protecting applications, it is also essential to protect access, but we remain convinced that the best solution is to inform and educate users on what not to do, focusing on paying special attention to password management and forcing them to change. them as needed.

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