5 Signs On How to Know if Ransomware is on Your Computer
A lot of businesses lack the necessary tools, visibility, staffing resources, and the expertise in identifying, detecting, and preventing ransomware. As these ransomware attacks are elaborately crafted and patiently laid down, these projects take weeks or even months just to gain access to accounts and critical systems, moving slowly throughout the network and carefully plotting every move just to secure the loot.
However, as attackers nowadays use sophisticated techniques, ransomware attacks can only take as little as 12 hours, prompting the urgency of knowing how to know if ransomware is on your computer infesting without your knowledge.
Nevertheless, while it is a fact that cybercrimes have evolved and cybercriminals do their best to avoid detection, these ransomware attacks are not without a trace as there are telltale signs to look for. But before we dig deep on these telltale signs on how to know if ransomware is on your computer, what exactly are the effects of these ransomware attacks that there’s a need to be vigilant over them?
Ransomware on Businesses and Individuals
Knowing how to know if ransomware is on your computer would be an upper hand for early prevention of these attacks by which, if not successfully prevented, often results in—or parts of the business—getting shut down completely.
Patrick Garrity, VP of Operations at Blumira, highlighted the impact of Ransomware as more destructive than other cyberattacks. Usually, businesses pay a fine just to be able to operate again. But there’s no telling if the damage can be restored and the business can be operational again. It is the worst-case scenario for every enterprise, and it is often dubbed as a security team’s worst nightmare.
According to former intelligence officer, Matthew F. Ferraro, these ransomware extortions have been a self-sustaining ecosystem simply because those who were hit are willing to pay the ransom and get it over with. Companies are willing to give in to the demands of these cybercriminals just to recover its data back as quickly as possible.
With the ghastly consequences of Ransomware, knowing how to know if ransomware is on your computer would be of great help in making sure your company or businesses won’t be duped out of money. The telltale signs will tell.
5 telltale signs of how to know if ransomware is on your computer
1. Suspicious Emails
- One of the most common ways of ransomware attack is Phishing. Cybercriminals do their best to avoid detection. What they do is they send social engineering emails appearing as if that it is a legitimate one. These emails customarily include a malicious attachment, or a link and once users click it, attackers now have access to the network and begin work from there.
2. Unexpected Network Scanners
- Network scanners are legitimate tools that IT teams use. However, if upon inquiry it was found out that none in your IT teams use such a tool, then it’s time to pound the alarm.
- Cybercriminals often start ransomware by gaining access to one of the business’s computers. If successfully done, the digging for valuable information will commence without you knowing.
3. Unauthorized Access to Active Directory
- Around the same time the network scanners were installed, it is likely that an attempt to infiltrate the business’s Active Directory (AD) was also done to gain domain access through applications such as AD Find and BloodHound.
- This way, the hacker can collect information regarding the AD users, computers, groups, and the map pathways to escalate privileges to the domain administrator.
4. Software Removal Programs
- When the hacker gains administrative privileges in your computer, usually the next step is to disable or remove security software like anti-virus protections. Cybercriminals do their best to avoid detection and removing or disabling software grants them that upper hand in detection avoidance.
- If the hackers are already able to remove or disable a software in your computer, then you must act fast—15 minutes or less—to prevent the execution of ransomware.
5. A Dry Run of Small-Scale, Test Attacks
- Want to know how to know if ransomware is on your computer? Check for small-scale dry runs in your network. Hackers often do this to check if they have successfully deployed ransomware.
With all these telltales, what can we do to limit exposure to these cyberattacks?
Security and Protection against these Ransomware attacks
Cybercriminals do their best to avoid detection and cybercrimes have evolved. In this day and age, learning how to know if ransomware is on your computer would be the greatest asset a company or a business must have to avoid hackers from collecting your data and use it against you for some ransom money.
For maximum security, there should be monitoring of account access and inbox rules. The staffers should be trained to recognize and report attacks and use multi-factor authentication. One may also use the aid of artificial technology to watch out for possible ransomware attacks. Lastly, one can deploy a security software that could prompt suspicious activities towards your computers.
Ransomwares are rampant in today’s digital age. That is why we need to be vigilant and protective of our data and information as cybercrimes have evolved and cybercriminals do their best to avoid detection.