Data Unit Blog

What Makes Ransomware So Special?

Malware has come a long way since the days of floppy disks and command prompt. What was once largely designed for purposes of sabotage has evolved into the centerpiece of a very real black market operation.

Ransomware isn’t exactly new (its origins date back as early as 1989), but it has become increasingly popular as hackers seek to monetize their hobbies. Businesses are particularly hard hit; their data is much more difficult to write off compared to the end user.

Yet is ransomware so different than any other type of virus or malware? What is it that makes ransomware so special and how will we react to its growth? These are all questions we need to ask as we edge closer to the third decade of the 21st century.

Topics: Security ransomware

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Ransomware Protection

Regardless of their size, every enterprise is looking for effective means of ransomware protection. Ransomware has cost its victims hundreds of millions of euros and can strike at virtually any time. While some progress has been made, no single solution can ensure complete ransomware protection.

Only true “defense in depth” can defend a network from ransomware and other threats. Unfortunately, budget and time constraints often force enterprises to focus on just one or two security tools. To truly safeguard sensitive data, a robust strategy is essential – as many companies have learned too late.

Topics: Security ransomware

The 7 ways how Ransomware is delivered to you

Ransomware has quickly become one of the most serious IT security concerns of 2016. After netting hundreds of millions in untraceable ransom payments in 2015, this form of malware has grown at an unprecedented rate in 2016. Trend Micro, one of the leading names in IT security, recently issued a press release claiming it blocked over 100 million ransomware threats in the course of six months. A ransomware attack could soon be the most common form of “hack.”

A press release indicates that 99% of all blocked ransomware came from web or email traffic. However, it’s important to realize that a ransomware attack can come in many different forms. “Uncommon” threat vectors can be the most dangerous of all, especially during sophisticated “Day Zero” attacks that prey on uninformed and unsuspecting end users of the targeted network.

Topics: Security ransomware

Unprecedented Office 365 Ransomware Attack Strikes Millions

Microsoft Office productivity tools have long been established as the gold standard for business around the world. They hold a significant presence in the market, with an estimated 80 million users using Office 365, the cloud subscription service providing Office applications.

The sudden emergence of Office 365 ransomware puts those users – and their enterprises – at risk. On June 22 at 6:44 a.m., IT security blogger Steven Toole reported the first attack, which was detected by cloud security firm Avanan.

The attack continued for a week, with Microsoft moving to block the malicious attachment on June 23. At least 57% of all Office 365 customers were hit with at least one phishing attempt.

Topics: Security ransomware

Zap Zcryptor: Ways to Fight Back

Viruses. Adware. Spyware. Trojan horses. Botnets. Browser hijacking software. Known as malware, all hit today's computers and other devices with a vengeance to cause the maximum damage possible.

Call them what you will, but they all serve a malicious purpose:

  1. They install themselves on computers without approval.
  2. They damage computers in other to steal data, personal or confidential information, passwords, files and Internet traffic. They even go so far as to cause a computer to stop working.
  3. They require IT staff to spend valuable time — time they can't afford to give up — to remove the villain and then fix the damage it's caused.

Plus, they bring in significant profits to their creators. For example, a 2015 Angler exploit kit made an average of $5 million every month they struck.

However, another type of malware is rapidly evolving — and fast. Analysts and researchers are now pinpointing ransomware as the next major threat, and it's going to hit with even more power and efficiency of its cousins.

Topics: Security ransomware

How Does Ransomware Work?

Access to information on your company's computer networks is essential for daily operation, and any downtime can be crippling to sales and productivity. Criminals know this, and they exploit this vulnerability with a type of malware known as ransomware.

While the inner workings of this attack may seem complicated, the goal is simple: lock you out of your own system until you pay. The first step to preventing this type of attack is knowing how it works. 


Topics: Security How to's ransomware

The relationship between TOR and ransomware

During your travels around the World Wide Web (or if you’re a House of Cards fan), you may have heard the TOR (The Onion Router) network of servers mentioned. This network was initially developed by the U.S. Navy as a way to anonymously browse the Internet. When used in that manner, the TOR network is a great concept and a lifeline for some users. However, for others, TOR is an enigmatic network with suspected links to hackers and other illegal activities.

Topics: Security ransomware

Is Ransomware a Virus?

What's the true nature of the so-called ransomware virus? Is ransomware really a virus?


Topics: Security ransomware

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is one of the most serious security threats of 2016, and it shows no sign of going away soon. Ransomware is a type of malware that applies powerful encryption to files on a target network, then demands a payment to restore access to the files.

Topics: Security ransomware

10 Questions Answered About Ransomware

In Q4 of 2015, Hewlett-Packard released research showing cybercrime costs U.S. firms an average of $15 million each year – double the global average. That figure is an increase of 19%, and digital criminal activity is only expected to grow. With the “Internet of Things” on the horizon, millions of new IP-enabled devices will soon be online, each one representing a potential target.

One of the most insidious developments in cybercrime over the last 18 months is the global emergence of a potent new kind of malware: Ransomware. These powerful Trojans leave both consumers and businesses at their mercy, locking access to critical files and then extorting large cash payments to restore them.

Whether you have a team of five or a global enterprise of 50,000, it’s crucial to be aware of this emerging threat. Let’s look at some of the most common questions and their answers:

Topics: Security ransomware