Ransomware has been around since 1989, the first being AIDS Trojan and was unleashed via floppy disks. It wasn't until last year, when the virus named WannaCry caused global panic in only 3 days, that the true threat of malware and more specifically ransomware entered into public consciousness.
With the explosion of digital currencies, such as bitcoin, the growing pile of evidence to suggest that digital extortion of an almost untraceable currency could be profitable has made ransomware a far to common and very real threat.
The reason ransomware is so dangerous is that it's difficult to stop, even with the most up to date anti-virus software and the only real protection against it is a reliable backup. There are no signs of the threat subsiding, so we are highlighting 5 of the most deadly strains of ransomware to raise awareness and educate.
One of the latest strains of ransomware, GandCrab was discovered in January 2018. Taking a different approach to infect victims, using exploit kits being marketed to cyber criminals as a "ransomware-as-a-service" package.
Reported to have hit Ukraine's national bank, the state power provider and Kiev's main airport. Thought by industry specialists to be a combination of ransomware infections. Usually, when ransomware infects, it encrypts the files however GoldenEye acts differently in that it targets an entire systems, preventing the user from even booting the device.
Described by EuroPol as unprecedented in scale, WannaCry hit on Friday May 12 2017 and in just 3 days, shut down hospitals all over UK and had spread to 200,000 systems across 150 countries, attacking government agencies, national organisations and put simply, anyone it could with access to the internet. The reason behind WannaCry's ferocity is that it used a leaked exploit, first developed by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Long since shut down thanks to Operation Tovar in 2014, Cryptolocker showed cyber criminals everywhere just how successful ransomware could be. In of itself, not that different from ransomware today, Cryptolocker is where modern ransomware started.
Cybercriminals thought of it all with Locky. Not only encrypting data files but also Bitcoin wallets and windows services that were responsible for system recovery, removing any ability from users to reset or recover their system.