How to Recognize Malware

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How to Recognize Malware?

Due to rapid advancement in technology and the use of digital devices, the risks of cyber attacks on individuals, organizations, government, and private sectors are increasing. A cyber attack attempts to access a computer system, a group of computers, or a network infrastructure to cause harm. Electrical blackouts, military equipment failures, and national security secrets leaks are possible outcomes of cyber strikes. They can lead to the theft of valuable and sensitive information, such as medical records. They can paralyze or interrupt phone and computer networks.

Cyber risks include computer viruses, data breaches, and DoS attacks. Malware is an example of an escalating cyber threat. Malware has been used to cause disruptions, make money, conduct cyber warfare methods and much more since the early 1970s.

  • Last year, 34% of firms had malware-related security issues.
  • Following March 2020, Google found roughly 600-800 malware-infected sites weekly, compared to around 3000 infected sites between January and March.

People have a habit of using loose security terms. However, it’s critical to understand your malware categories. Understanding how different types of malware spread is essential to containing and eradicating them. This article will help you know how to recognize malware.

 

What is Malware?

Malware or malicious software is software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, or access private computer systems. Malicious software, or malware, is designed to damage or disrupt computers and computer networks.

Malware comes in various forms and often varies in sophistication, but some things are common to most types of malware. They’re usually small programs trick people into installing them on their computers. Once the computer has been infected with malware, it may be slowed down, destroyed, or made vulnerable to malicious attacks from other sources.

 Malware includes computer viruses, keyloggers, and other malicious programs that damage or disrupt computers and networks. Malware attacks can range from simple annoyances such as pop-up messages to extremely damaging programs that cause financial loss or identity theft.

 

How-to-Recognize-Malware-middleWays to Tell if You’re Infected with Malware

The best way to tell if your computer has been infected with malware is to look for specific symptoms. Here are some tips on how you can tell if your device has been affected by malicious software:

  • Slow performance: If you notice that your device is performing slower than usual, there might be a problem with malware. When malicious programs run on your PC, they can affect its performance and make everything take longer than usual. For example, opening files or programs might take longer, and web pages may not load properly.
  • Unexpected behavior changes: If anything that generally happens on your PC starts happening when it shouldn’t — or doesn’t happen when it should — then this could be a sign of malware infection. For example, if your browser opens new tabs without permission or downloads files without asking permission, these could be malware infection signs.

If you have malware on your computer, it can lead to various problems. Some malware displays pop-ups and advertisements, some steal personal information stored on your computer, and some even try to access your bank account. If you believe your system contains malware, you must use an effective anti-malware program to remove the threat.

If you experience these symptoms, you may have malware on your computer. You are in danger when the virus starts to harm your system. You need to know how to know if you have malware or if malware will keep affecting your system.

 

How Malware Gets on Your Device

Malware can get onto your device in many ways. Here are some of them.

 

1.    Malicious Websites

Hackers often create malicious websites that trick you into downloading software onto your device by appearing as legitimate sites. For example, they may create fake social media pages for popular websites like Facebook or LinkedIn, containing malware links embedded in the website code.

2.    Email Attachments

Malware is delivered by email in 94% of cases. Phishing assaults are becoming more common. To steal personally identifiable information, cyber hackers imitate trustworthy institutions. These attachments often appear as files you need to open to view their contents (such as an invoice or document). A typical example of this type of attachment is a PDF document containing an executable file hidden inside it. It automatically downloads and installs malware on your computer without knowing when you open it.

3.    Downloading Apps from Unknown Sources

If you’re downloading a file from the Internet, you must be careful where you get it from and what kind of content it contains. Ensure you only download files from reputable sources — such as official developer websites or other trusted sources — and avoid peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

4.    Not Updating Your Apps Regularly

While updating your apps on Android isn’t easy — you need to ensure that every app is compatible with the latest version of Android before doing so. It’s still important to keep up with updates to protect against new malware threats. Suppose you’re unwilling or unable to update your apps regularly. In that case, the best thing you can do is scan your device for malware once in a while using anti-virus software.

 

Effects Of Malware

Malware has become an increasingly serious threat in today’s business landscape. The bad guys are getting more innovative and creative as they develop new ways of getting into your systems. Malware can cause many problems that affect your company’s daily operation and long-term security. They could steal passwords and credit card numbers or make your computer inoperable by deleting files. In addition to these apparent problems, malware can cause company data to be lost or corrupted.

The following are some common symptoms of a malware infection:

  • Unexpected pop-ups in your browser or other applications. These are usually advertisements but can also be attempted by malicious software to trick you into installing more malware.
  • The presence of suspicious files on your computer. These may include executable files (.exe), dynamic link libraries (.dll), or scripts (.vbs). If you find any of these on your computer, it’s good to delete them immediately.
  • There are frequent crashes, program freezes, blue screens (BSODs), or other system errors. In some cases, these issues might be caused by a hardware problem, but they could also result from malware that has taken over part or all of the operating system (OS).

Conclusion

In this digital era, corporate device and network malware attacks are rising. Cybercriminals are spreading advanced variants of robust malware to infect endpoints. Not only have these attacks increased, but the level of sophistication has also improved.

Protected Harbor offers extensive protection from viruses, ransomware, spyware, and other malicious software. It also includes a firewall to prevent outside threats from compromising your computer. One of the most helpful features of this program is its real-time cloud scanning which keeps your computer safe even if you download a malicious program. In addition, you can schedule scans to make sure that your computer is always protected. With Protected Harbor, you get access to helpful 24/7 support as well. An ideal solution for such scenarios with complete protection against malware attacks. What are you waiting for? Get protected from malware today with a free IT audit.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats

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The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business

Even though cyberattacks on small and medium-sized enterprises don’t always make news, they pose a real threat to many professionals’ lives, their jobs, and the clients they represent. Because small and medium-sized businesses may lack the backup and mitigation capabilities of some of the more prominent players, SMB cyberattacks frequently impact them.

A new report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) finds that small businesses are the most likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. The study, which was conducted in partnership with Norton by Symantec, found that small businesses make up 99% of all companies and are responsible for nearly half of all jobs in the United States.

 

Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats and Their Prevention

The research revealed that the most common SMB cybersecurity threats include social engineering, physical access to networks and data, malware (DDOS), phishing, ransomware, etc. Let’s discuss this in detail!

 

DDOS

A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack overwhelms your network’s capacity. The United States targeted about 35% of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2021. With slightly under 20% of attacks, the United Kingdom came in second and China third. The most common target is the computer and internet sector.

Using numerous compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic, DDoS attacks are practical. Computers and other networked resources, like IoT devices, can be exploited by machines.

When viewed from a distance, a DDoS assault resembles unexpected traffic congestion that blocks the roadway and keeps ordinary traffic from reaching its destination.

How to Prevent DDOS

It is not enough to choose a good hosting provider; you also need to ensure that your website is configured correctly so that it will not be susceptible to a DDoS attack. You should use an effective Content Delivery Network (CDN) if possible because CDNs can help reduce the load on servers operated by your website and thus reduce the stress placed on them during an attack.

 

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can also come through social engineering because they use spam messages that look authentic but contain links or attachments that look like something else. Financial institutions targeted 23.6% of all phishing attacks during the first quarter of 2022.

These attacks can be hazardous for small businesses because their employees may not know how to recognize fake emails from their bosses or co-workers.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

The simplest way to protect yourself from phishing attacks is to educate your people on how to respond if they encounter one. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t click on links in emails that aren’t from someone you know.
  • Never enter personal information into forms in emails
  • Don’t open attachments unless they come from someone you know and trust.

Malware

Malware is malicious software that can infiltrate a network, damage files, steal sensitive information, and encrypt data. It can spread through email attachments or links in social media posts. The professional sector was the first worldwide industry affected by malware assaults between November 2020 and October 2021. There were 1,234 malware incidences in the industry throughout the measurement period. With 775 such events, the information sector was in second place.

How to Prevent Malware?

  • The good news is that there are several ways to protect yourself against malware attacks.
  • Use antivirus software
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date
  • Use antivirus software with real-time protection
  • Perform regular backups

 

Ransomware

In ransomware, data on a victim’s computer or mobile device is encrypted, and the victim is demanded to pay to have it decrypted. Ransomware affected 68.5% of businesses in 2021. This was the highest figure reported thus far and increased from the prior three years. Each year, more than half of all survey respondents said their employer had fallen victim to ransomware.

To release the data, cybercriminals demand ransom money from their victims. A vigilant eye and security software are advised to guard against ransomware infection. Following an illness, malware victims have three options: either they can pay the ransom, attempt to delete the software, or restart the device. Extortion Trojans use the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software flaws as attack vectors.

How to Prevent Ransomware?

A ransomware infection can’t be removed by turning off one computer and switching to another due to encryption. Getting your data back requires either recovering from a backup or paying the attackers. A malware infection can take anywhere from days (if it’s relatively simple) to weeks (if it’s more complicated).

 

Viruses

A security breach or loophole allows viruses to enter the equipment. Viruses come in various forms and are designed to damage your electronics. Computer viruses can impede computer performance, destroy or eliminate files, and impair programs. A virus can be acquired in several ways, including file sharing, corrupt emails, visiting malicious websites, and downloading destructive software. An increase in pop-up windows, unauthorized password changes to your account, destroyed files, and a slowdown in your network speed indicates that you have a virus on your computer.

How to Prevent Common Viruses?

There are many ways to protect from viruses attacks, but here are some of the most important ones:

  • Don’t open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use antivirus software regularly. Antivirus software protects computers from viruses.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business middleSQL injection

Relational databases can be accessed using the standard language known as SQL or Structured Query Language. Databases are used to store user information like usernames and passwords in apps and other forms of programming. Additionally, databases are frequently the most efficient and safe way to store various types of data, such as private bank account information and public blog postings and comments.

SQL queries frequently employ parameters to send data from users into a secure database or the other way around. Attackers can leverage the points where your app talks with a database using a SQL argument to access private data and other secured locations if the values in those user-supplied SQL arguments aren’t protected by sanitizing or prepared statements.

How to Prevent SQL Injection?

To prevent SQL injections, Use parameterized queries. Parameterized queries allow you to specify what parameters will be used in the question and what values will be permitted for each parameter. This prevents hackers from entering malicious data into your application.

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid cyber threats. But you can protect your business from them by investing in cybersecurity solutions.

Even though small businesses don’t have the same resources as larger enterprises, they can still protect themselves from cyber threats. You can start with basic security measures, such as installing antivirus software, updating your computer’s operating system, and using strong passwords. Additionally, you should consider investing in a cybersecurity solution.

Choosing the right cybersecurity service provider is just as important as the other steps your company takes to protect its data.

Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have the resources to hire a full-time staff to manage their cybersecurity. That’s where a managed service provider like Protected Harbor comes in. Protected Harbor protects your data against cyber threats, including malware, ransomware, and data leaks. In addition, you have a team of experts at your side.

Our main focus is on risk reduction and breach prevention, so you can expect a lot of attention to detail regarding accounting monitoring and protection against malware, viruses, phishing scams, and other threats. The service also strongly focuses on data privacy, a highly sought-after feature among customers who work with sensitive data.

Get a free cybersecurity assessment, network penetration testing and secure your business today. Contact us today.

Top 10 Scariest Types of Malware

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Top 10 Scariest Types of Malware

It’s a dangerous world out there, and plenty of malicious actors lurking to infect your gadgets. You may be surprised that computer viruses can attach themselves to any of your devices, not just your computer. Malware can have devastating effects and jeopardize your personal information. Fortunately, you can defend yourself against various malware in the future, but that’s another story.

This Halloween, we bring you the top 10 scariest types of malware. Also, keep up with our other resources published weekly in Cybersecurity Awareness Month to keep you safe.

 

What is Malware?

Malware is malicious software that a threat actor uses to wreak havoc on a target company or individual. Malware is typically discovered online, including emails, false links, advertising, hidden text, and websites you (or your employees) may visit. Malware’s ultimate objective is to damage or exploit systems and networks, frequently to steal data or money.

One employee making a mistaken click is all it takes for the malware to install itself and start running its program.

Malware attacks are increasing, particularly in the wake of the epidemic. Attacks now total an astonishing 10.4 million every year, on average. Threat vectors and attack patterns are also evolving. Ransomware gangs and malware-as-a-service are more prevalent now than before the epidemic, and supply chain and ransomware attacks are also on the rise.

It’s crucial to remember that many malware attacks start as phishing or social engineering scams. Although there are technologies that people and organizations can and ought to use to stop malware attempts, user training is crucial because it protects them from social engineering.

 

List of Top 10 Scariest Types

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of Malware

  1. Ransomware- It is inarguably the most dangerous type of malware. As the name suggests, this malware is set up on a computer to prevent user access. A ransom is frequently demanded to restore control.
  2. Botnets- Botnets infect a network of computers and are typically disguised to allow third parties to operate them. Fraudsters frequently utilize them to engage in fraudulent behavior.
  3. DDOS- Also known as Distribute Denial of service. This is a deadly attack that launches from several computers, which are already infected, and floods web servers with requests until they break and users cannot access the service.
  4. APT (Advanced Persistent Threat)- This sophisticated malware will breach the system security to keep an eye on it and continuously steal data from a machine.
  5. Exploits- This malware will try to access and take control of particular activities without the user’s awareness by taking advantage of any system flaws.
  6. Backdoors- You feel helpless due to the intrusive infection controlling the system through the back door.
  7. Keyloggers- The goal of this spyware, as its name implies, is to read your keystrokes (everything you enter), exposing your important information.
  8. Phishing- This is a form of online crime. Consider it malware that sought out your personal information. The bait is frequently presented as an email to fool you into thinking it is coming from a reliable company. When you let your guard down, you inadvertently give fraudsters access to your personal information. If fraudsters manage to access your bank accounts, this might have disastrous consequences.
  9. Worms- Not so much the adorable franchise characters. They set up shop on a gadget and then spread themselves over more devices by communicating through those devices.
  10. Trojans- It seeks to blend in with other apps and open a backdoor. The name is a play on the trojan horse of old. This gives access to a vast array of harmful software that is undetectable.

 

Conclusion

There are many more malicious programs out there that you should be cautious about; these are just 10 of the worst that might infect your computer. Be sure to take precautions by installing a solid defensive system, never disclosing your personal information, and never downloading anything you do not recognize to stop your devices from coming into contact with any of these.

Malware constantly threatens your business, systems, and, most importantly, assets, regardless of its form. We continuously advise investing in your security environment and taking a proactive approach, whether through a proactive security operations partner like Protected Harbor or a proactive solution like Protected Harbor Malware Security with Threat Detection and Response.

With the help of our 2022 Cybersecurity Awareness resources, learn more about malware and other new risks.

Discover how security operations can defend your business against malware threats. Get in touch with our specialists today for a free consultation and cybersecurity assessment.

How do I Remove Malware

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How do I Remove Malware?

Cybercriminals always hunt for more advanced ways to attack your home network or business as the world moves toward a more connected digital life. According to an FBI report, cybercrime losses grew considerably in 2021. The losses, which primarily occurred in the United States but were reported globally, were estimated at $6.9 billion last year, up from $4.2 billion in 2020.

Malware has been around for years but has become increasingly sophisticated over time. The number of new malware detections worldwide increased to 677.66 million programs in March 2020, up from 661 million at the end of January 2020. With so many people connecting smart devices to their home networks, it’s no wonder that cybercriminals are looking for ways to exploit these devices, too.

This article will discuss detecting and removing malware from your mobile devices and personal computers. Let’s get started.

 

What is Malware?

Malware is a broad term for various malicious software (or “malicious code”) intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems. It includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs.

It can be programmed to steal your personal information or lock up your system until you pay a ransom to unlock it. If you see pop-up ads on your screen or if your browser locks up or crashes frequently, these are signs that your computer may have been infected with malware.

Malware is often distributed via email attachments or links on websites. Often people click on the links because they are curious to see what they lead to, and before they know it, they’ve downloaded malware onto their computer.

 

Finding and Removing Malware from Your Devices

It may seem impossible to remove malware from your computer once infected. But with cautious and prompt action, eradicating a virus or malware program can be easier than you think.

 

Malware from Mobile Devices

Anyone who uses the internet frequently is sure to come across the malware. Your smartphone carries much personal information, making it a prime target for cybercriminals.

Fortunately, malware can be found and removed from your Android device.

 

Signs of malware on Android

If you’re experiencing these issues, your device may have malware.

  • Your phone is slow and unresponsive.
  • You see ads or pop-ups on your screen, even after locking your device.
  • Your battery life has decreased noticeably since you got the phone.
  • Your device has become very hot while charging or after using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype for a long time (this is especially common with Android devices).
  • You see “Your device needs to be restarted” error messages on your screen more often than usual (even though no apps are running in the background).

How to Remove Malware on Android?

You can get rid of viruses and malware on Android by doing the following:

  • Reboot in safe mode. If your phone is infected with a virus, you may be able to use it usually if you reboot your phone into safe mode. This mode allows you to use your phone without any third-party apps running.
  • Uninstall all suspicious apps. If your phone has been infected with a virus, there’s a good chance that some apps on your phone are also infected. To find out which ones, tap Settings > Apps > Show All Apps > Scroll down and tap on each app one by one, looking for anything unusual (such as an app that uses too much battery or data). When you find an app that looks suspicious, uninstall it.
  • Get rid of pop-up ads. If you’re being bombarded by pop-ups while surfing the web, they could be coming from malware on your phone.
  • Clear your downloads. Make sure you check every app before you install it, and never install anything from sources other than Google Play Store (or trusted third-party stores). Also, delete any apps installed without permission — especially those with strange names or icons.
  • Install a mobile anti-malware app. Several solutions offer protection against malware for Android devices, including Avast Mobile Security and AVG AntiVirus Free. These apps scan every file stored on your device for viruses and other security threats, alerting you if anything suspicious is detected.

 

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Removing Malware from MAC or PC

 

Both Macs and PCs can be infected with malware. Although PCs are usually associated with this vulnerability, Macs can also be affected. It is critical to be aware of the threat of malware regardless of the sort of equipment you have.

 

Signs of Malware on PC or MAC

Many people will be surprised when they find out they are infected with malware. You may not realize it until you notice some strange activity on your computer or mobile device. Here are some signs that could indicate an infection:

  • Your computer takes longer than usual to start up or shut down
  • Your computer runs slowly for no apparent reason
  • Strange pop-up ads appear on your screen when you’re browsing the web
  • Your computer reboots itself more frequently than usual (this happens when there are too many applications running at once)

Get Rid of Malware on Your PC

Several options are available if you’re having problems with a PC or Mac and want to remove malware. Here’s how to do this:

  • Disconnect from the Internet

If you’re using an infected computer, disconnect it from the Internet immediately. This may stop malicious programs from spreading to other devices on your network or accessing files stored in cloud services like Dropbox or iCloud.

  • Check your activity monitor for malicious applications

Your activity monitor will show all currently running applications and processes on your system. If you see any suspicious-looking methods or applications, immediately shut down those programs and restart your computer so no more files are added to those processes.

  • Use Antivirus Software

Install an antivirus program on your computer before downloading anything from the Internet. Then keep it updated regularly with automatic updates. Many antivirus programs include anti-malware features that scan files as they’re downloaded to catch threats before infecting your system. You should also check newly downloaded files with an antivirus program before opening them to know if they contain malware or run them on your computer.

  • Run a Malware Scanner

Run a malware scanner. They are designed to search for and remove malicious software from your system. These tools are often free and can be downloaded from the Internet. You can also use a paid version of antivirus software if you already have some installed.

  • Clear your cache.

Most browsers store information about websites you visit in a temporary file called the cache. This allows them to load pages faster when you return to the site because they don’t have to download all the information again. But sometimes, this data can contain malicious code that has infected your computer and should be deleted before it causes more damage.

 

Final Words

Malware seriously threatens the information stored on personal computers and Macs. New varieties of malware are found all the time, and the lucrative nature of some viruses makes them particularly appealing to cybercriminals worldwide. Practicing good internet habits and recognizing the warning signals of malware infection is critical.

If you suspect your computer is infected, act quickly to prevent malware from spreading and protect your personal information. You can take help from the experts because malware can cause serious harm to you and your business. Protected Harbor has inbuilt malware detection in the cybersecurity strategy. We regularly update our database with new malware and other virus detection so that you stay ahead of the curve. You handle the business while we handle the security. Proactive remote monitoring is not just a term we implement. It’s an approach to detecting and removing any cyber threats before they may cause chaos.

To quickly identify and neutralize any dangers or if you want a more straightforward approach, contact us today for a free IT audit.

How to Prevent Malware

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How to Prevent Malware

Whether it’s a new album from our favorite band, an application to make our browser run faster, or a new computer game we want to check out, we are in a state of constant downloading. We can leave ourselves open to cybercriminal attacks if we aren’t vigilant about what we download.

When our gear starts behaving strangely, our first thought is that it’s a virus. Though a virus is always a possibility, the problem is more frequently known as malware. The malware was the most concerning cyber threat targeting enterprises, according to a poll of global IT security decision-makers conducted in November 2020. Phishing and ransomware were tied for second place with a relative score of 3.99 on a five-point scale.

This article will discuss how to prevent malware and highlight ways how to prevent malware. Let’s get started.

The Most Common Ways You Can Get Malware

Malware is a type of software program that is designed to damage or disable computers and computer systems. It includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, and adware. Malware can cause a loss of productivity, revenue, and reputation for businesses. In some cases, malware can lead to data theft or identity theft.

One of the most common types of malware is a virus. A virus is a small code that attaches itself to another program or document so it can spread from one computer to another without being detected by security software. Viruses are often sent through legitimate email messages but contain malicious attachments or links to malicious websites.

Malware is a huge problem, and it cannot be easy to protect yourself. Some people think they’re safe because they don’t install software from the internet, and that’s true, but malware can still get on your computer in other ways.

The most common ways you can get malware:

  • Downloading free software (malvertising)
  • Opening an infected attachment in an email
  • Visiting a malicious website
  • Sending files to someone via email or instant messaging

Impact of Malware

Malware may also include spyware and adware programs that collect information about your online activity and display unwanted or intrusive advertisements on your screen. Some malware is designed to steal your personal information, such as credit card numbers or passwords.

Often, malware is installed without your consent when you visit an infected website or open an email attachment containing a virus. Once installed, malware can perform any number of functions, including:

  • Stealing your personal information.
  • Stealing money from your bank account.
  • Disabling essential system files so that you cannot use your computer.

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You can protect yourself from malware in several ways. The first is personal vigilance. You should avoid clicking on links, downloading files from unknown sources, and visiting websites with a reputation for containing malicious code. Most importantly, ensure all your software is updated, including your operating system and browser.

The second protection method uses protective tools such as firewalls and antivirus software. These tools can monitor your network traffic and detect any suspicious behavior coming from your computer or network, then block it before it has a chance to do any damage.

Steps to Protect Your Computer from Malware

So, what can you do to protect yourself against common viruses like ransomware, phishing, and cryptojacking?

A strategy is outlined below.

1.    Rely Only On Secure Networks (Encrypted)

If you’re using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, someone could easily intercept your data as it moves between your computer and your site. This includes sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers.

2.    Employ Browser Common Sense

Browsers are one of the most common ways malware gets onto your computer. Many sites try to trick you into clicking on links or downloading files that contain malware. Be careful when browsing online, and avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown senders.

3.    Take Care of Your Personal Information

The most important thing to prevent malware from infecting your device is to keep a tight grip on your personal information. This means never sharing personal details over email or social media platforms. It would be best if you also avoided downloading apps from unverified developers and websites, as they could be hiding malicious code inside their programs.

4.    Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Attacks

Maintain your operating system, any third-party applications installed on your computer, and any antivirus software installed on your computer to have the latest protection against new threats that may be around the corner.

5.    Use Antivirus Software

While not foolproof, antivirus software can detect and block some types of malware at entry into your device or system. But even if it does catch a virus, it won’t remove it from your computer because it doesn’t have access to all areas of the operating system where there are viruses.

6.    Don’t Click Suspicious Links or Attachments

It can be hard not to click on suspicious links or attachments in emails or text messages, especially if they appear to come from someone you know. However, if an email or text message looks strange, don’t open it! Malware can spread through email attachments and links that take you to phishing websites, where criminals try to trick users into giving up their personal information.

7.    Use Strong Passwords

Make sure you use a different password for each account — including gaming accounts. At least eight characters should be used with a combination of numbers and letters that aren’t found in the dictionary or on a keyboard. It shouldn’t be easy to guess your birthday, family member’s name, or pet’s name.

8.    Configure Regular Scans and Monitor Settings

Malware can be distributed using various methods, including email attachments, social media links, and fake websites. To stop malware from infecting your device, you need to configure it for scanning regularly. This will help identify any threats before they cause damage to your system. You should also configure your network settings to detect any changes in traffic patterns that might indicate an attack.

9.    Always Update Your Operating System

You must keep your operating system up-to-date because new updates often contain patches for existing vulnerabilities that malware developers could exploit. If you don’t update regularly, it leaves your device susceptible to attacks by cybercriminals who may use these vulnerabilities against users with outdated systems.

Final Words

Infections with malware can be fatal for businesses. Malware can seriously harm your finances and reputation by disrupting essential procedures and stealing or encrypting vital data. Use the suggestions above to safeguard you and your company against malware attacks. Additionally, make sure you regularly isolate the backup of your data so that you can restore it from a backup if your environment becomes infected with malware. You should always ensure you download software from trusted sites only.

At Protected Harbor, we are a team of cybersecurity experts who can assist your business in safeguarding critical data from cyberattacks and data breaches. We offer 24/7 monitoring, isolated backups, endpoint security, network security, and advanced threat detection to protect your organization against malware, ransomware, and other cyber threats. Our expert engineers will work with you to develop a customized network security solution that meets your organization’s needs. From top to bottom, we ensure that your network is secure and protected against the latest cyber threats.

Contact Protected Harbor today for tools and free IT consultation regarding malware prevention and detection.

IT Security Incident Affects Multiple Facilities Across CommonSpirit Health

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IT Security Incident Affects Multiple Facilities Across CommonSpirit Health

One of the most significant health systems in the country, CommonSpirit Health, said that the IT security breach happened on Monday, October 3, 2022.

 

CommonSpirit Health, a faith-based healthcare organization, located throughout the Midwest, recently experienced an unfortunate security incident. At first glance, this security incident may appear innocuous since it only involved exposing sensitive patient information. However, the ramifications extend far beyond a breach of privacy.

In light of these developments, we have compiled a brief overview of the CommonSpirit Health IT security incident to help you identify potential vulnerabilities in your environment.

 

What Happened?

According to reports, a hack on CommonSpirit Health System that is still ongoing compromised facilities in Tennessee, Nebraska, and Washington. EHRs (Electronic Health Records) are currently among the offline IT systems, and patient visits have since been rescheduled.

The number of facilities impacted by the issue, which started on Monday, is still unknown, as is the number of patient records.

According to a statement from CommonSpirit, “as a result of this situation, we have rescheduled some patient visits in several of our communities.” If a patient’s appointment is impacted, their provider and care facility will contact them directly.

One of the largest health systems in the nation, based in Chicago, runs 142 hospitals and more than 2,200 care facilities throughout 21 states.

It stated, “We take our responsibility to safeguard patient privacy and IT security very seriously.”

According to CHI (Catholic Health Initiatives), the facilities are adhering to procedures for system failures and “[are] taking steps to minimize the disturbance.”

 

Why This Matters?

IT Security Incident Affects Multiple Facilities Across CommonSpirit Health Middle

In 2019, Trinity Health and CHI merged to create CommonSpirit Health, a new nonprofit Catholic health system with a presence in 21 states.

According to The Chattanoogan.com in Tennessee, the hacking attack impacted the neighborhood of CHI Memorial hospital. According to the report, CHI officials said several patient procedures had to be rescheduled, and some systems had to be shut down.

The Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Seattle has also stated that the outage has affected their systems. St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma is one of the hospitals and clinics in the Puget Sound region run by VMFH. Given this, patients could not access MyChart, an online patient portal.

CommonSpirit is one of several renowned nonprofit health systems reporting significant losses for the most recent fiscal year.

In 2022, the company recorded losses of $1.85 billion.

Wright Lassiter, formerly with Henry Ford Health, was recently named by
CommonSpirit as its new CEO and Lloyd Dean’s replacement.

 

Protected Harbor’s Take on the Matter

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? Well, this holds true when it comes to cybersecurity as well as in the case of the CommonSpirit health incident. Even the most diligent and well-intentioned companies can be the victim of a data breach. With the GDPR in effect, it’s now a matter of public record if your data has been stolen.” – Richard Luna, CEO of Protected Harbor.

It is a proven fact that most cyberattacks happen due to negligence. Therefore, it is imperative to have a reliable security system to protect you from all sorts of online threats. At the same time, it is equally essential for you to keep your operating systems, antiviruses, firewalls, and patches up to date with the latest versions available. Without regular updates, your system can become vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Therefore, it is essential that you keep track of all the updates and install them at the right time.

MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) and IAM (Identity Access Management) are the primary security requirements we suggest all businesses implement to have an extra layer of security.

Cybersecurity awareness should be an integral part of your business plan. It doesn’t matter if you are a large corporation or a small business; cybersecurity is critical for everyone.

For more information, check out a quick guide to proactive cybersecurity measures.

 

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, many businesses are unaware of the significance a robust security plan has and thus remain vulnerable to cyber threats. If you are concerned about your business’s security and want a foolproof security plan, then hiring an expert can help you.

Protected Harbor offers a range of security services, including a Web Application Firewall (WAF), data breach response, email security, ransomware security, and cloud security to businesses of all sizes. We keep your data and systems secure, help you comply with regulations, and meet your documentation requirements. Our products are easy to use and come with 24/7 support.

Our focus on ease of use, transparency, and value for your dollar sets us apart from the competition. Protected Harbor is one of the best-reviewed cybersecurity providers. We have a 90+ Net Promoter Score.

Even if you feel you have a solid security plan, it can’t work if it’s not in use. A security audit of your network and systems is equally as important. With that being said, Protected Harbor is here to help and will be offering free cybersecurity assessments for all healthcare providers. Contact us today.

Malware Hits Millions of Android Users:

Malware hits millions of Android users main

Malware Hits Millions of Android Users:

The Top 5 Apps You Need to Uninstall Right Now

 

There’s nothing scarier than malware. When it comes to Android apps, users always have to look for possible threats. However, things are not as simple as they may seem. Researchers at Check Point discovered a new strain of malware called a, “false positive,” that targets users through Google Play by uploading malicious apps under user-friendly names.

This is how it works:

The malware tricks you into installing a seemingly harmless app onto your phone. But once you install it, the app will download other malicious apps and start reading your sensitive data without your permission or knowledge. You might be wondering about which apps are putting you at risk, but don’t worry, we have you covered.

Here’s a brief list of the top 5 offenders, which you need to uninstall immediately if you haven’t done so yet.

 

So, What Happened?

Another group of seemingly innocent Android apps that are meant to spread malware to endpoints and charge unsuspecting users for services has been discovered by researchers.

The Dr. Web antivirus team found the most recent batch, including wallpaper programs, keyboards, picture editors, video editors, and an occasional cache cleaner or system maintenance app. They have altogether received more than 10 million downloads overall.

After escaping Google’s stringent security measures, twenty-eight apps in total were discovered in the Google Play Store. You can see the complete list of infected android apps here.

 

Android Apps Hacked

Regarding the damages, the method is mainly unchanged.

Once the malware or “app,” is downloaded, most applications will try to hide, appearing as regular system apps in the app drawer. They do this with the hope that people won’t uninstall them. Then, to generate more revenue, the applications constantly push advertisements and try to sign the victim up for various premium services.

If users hadn’t granted the necessary permissions to the apps, none of this would have been possible. Even though the apps have a straightforward design and do what they claim to, they frequently request advanced permissions from users, such as the right to be exempt from battery-saving features, to run in the background even after the user closes the app, which is a big warning sign in and of itself.

Three of the apps are still available on the Play Store, though most have already been removed. Even if all of the apps were removed, they have still been downloaded millions of times. Thus, they will continue to pose a threat until they are completely deleted from the smartphones of all victims.

Below is a short list of the 5 malicious apps researchers have found that you should remove immediately:

 

FastCleaner: Cache Cleaner

Before Google discovered the true intentions of the app, Fast Cleaner had amassed over 50,000 installs. Using a time-tested technique, a brand-new banking trojan was introduced into the Android handsets of unsuspecting users across the country designed to steal login information as well as to intercept text messages and notifications without anybody noticing anything strange.

 

Malware hits millions of Android users middleES File Explorer

The most well-known file explorer app was probably ES File Explorer. That’s because five years ago, it was actually a really good app.

So, why is bad?  Bloatware and adware were prevalent within the free edition, and users were constantly nagged to download more apps via pop-up notifications that you couldn’t turn off. However, things worsened when the once-popular app was removed from the Play Store for engaging in click fraud through its advertisements.

For those unaware, click fraud is the practice of secretly clicking background advertisements on consumers’ devices.

You can still download dozens more imitators from the Play Store in addition to the ES File Explorer APK nowadays. However, the program should not be used in any of its iterations.

 

Virus Cleaner

Virus Cleaner – Antivirus Free and Phone Cleaner by Super Cleaner Studio, an app with over 14 million downloads, illustrates everything wrong with the Android ecosystem. It includes many advertisements, many of which are for products and services with a dubious reputation. Additionally, it “claims” to be an efficient security master, phone trash cleaner, WIFI security, super speed booster, battery saver, CPU cooler, and notification cleaner. None of which can at all be accomplished to any real degree by any software install.

Really, you should be ignoring any application that claims to be a “CPU cooler.”

 

SuperVPN Free

SuperVPN is one of the most popular VPN apps for Android, with over 100 million downloads. But earlier this year, cybersecurity experts alleged that the app has some serious flaws that might let hackers launch Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks and steal user data like credit card numbers, photographs, and private chats.

According to reports, hackers can also take advantage of the flaws to redirect a user’s connection to harmful websites, thus jeopardizing the security and privacy of the user.

 

Notes – Reminders & Lists

It is recommended not to download this app from its official website as there are concerns regarding its security and safety. It was detected by many anti-virus software systems as malicious. This app may be a scam as it doesn’t seem to work properly and asks for inappropriate permissions. So far, Notes – Reminders & Lists are not available in Google’s Play Store. It can only be downloaded from its official website. Either way, we recommend you staying far away from this app, as it might be a scam and may have malware hidden inside.

 

Conclusion

It can be challenging to differentiate between trustworthy and malicious apps. The number of pointless permissions an app requests is the one clear sign that should always cause alarm. Does a flashlight app really need access to your location? Does a cleaning app really need access to the camera or microphone?

Richard Luna, CEO of Protected Harbor, stated: “This attack is not a surprise; it should be expected.  As more work is performed on mobile devices, those devices, like desktops, will be the main point of attack.  Application development platforms must be better hardened to defend against this malware.

What can an end user do? Enable security and Two-Factor Authentication on as many platforms and applications as available on any platform.  If you are concerned, use a desktop over a mobile device, desktops have been dealing with this type of attack for decades.”

Nick Solimando, Director of Technology at Protected Harbor, has 3 tips for businesses that operate through a lot of mobile apps:

  1. Only install mobile apps from providers you trust. Since harmful programs are getting better at hiding in plain sight, downloading from reputable sites is no longer the only recommendation.
  2. Always check the app store ratings and reviews before downloading. Users should check the reviews because they offer a reliable indication of the apps’ reliability. Additionally, be sure to verify, as threat actors have been known to spoof some of them. It’s better to avoid an app if there are few reviews for it.
  3. Periodically go through your mobile device and uninstall extra apps you no longer use. This will not only make you safe, but you’ll also ease memory space.

Despite Google’s constant efforts, thousands of risky apps, including malware, adware, spyware, and bloatware, may be found on the Play Store. The ones above have made it onto our list since they are some of the most frequently utilized risky Android apps.

These apps are very common and can be found on every device. However, they have been infected by malware, so they will likely try and more than likely, successfully steal your data. It’s best to uninstall them and proceed with extreme caution if you can. Always keep your device as well as apps up-to-date and avoid using third-party app stores. Android users can stay safe from potential threats by installing and keeping the latest version of their mobile operating system and using security software for mobile devices.

Protected Harbor uses the latest threat detection and prevention technology to keep your network safe and secure. Our devices are also updated regularly, keeping them secure and up to date with the latest security patches. Our software is installed in your systems to monitor suspicious activity – it can be installed on desktops, laptops, or in the cloud.

We secure your endpoints so that you can be assured your network is protected from malware and cyber threats. We protect your network by monitoring critical network assets, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information, blacklisting malicious software, and providing real-time threat detection and response.

We are giving a free IT Audit and penetration testing for a limited time, contact us today and get one.

Various ways to detect malicious activities in a network

Various ways to detect malicious activities in a network

malicious-activities-Businesses are not reacting promptly to malicious activities. Technology is constantly and rapidly evolving and expanding the attack surface in multiple ways. At the same time, cybercriminals are adapting advanced courses and escalating the threat landscape. They are adopting sophisticated ways to attack, and the struggle to deal with the changes is real. Malicious or unauthorized activities occurring inside your network are causing damage without even you knowing that. How can you detect those malicious network activities inside your network as quickly as possible and respond efficiently to avoid or reduce the potential damage?

There are a variety of network protection tools available for this purpose. Some are enhancements or evolutions of others, and some are mainly focused on certain types of malicious activities. However, all network intrusion detection systems are intended to detect malicious or suspicious activities on your network and enable you to act promptly against them. This article will discuss these tools to see malicious activities on your network. But before that, let’s discuss the malicious activities.

What is a malicious activity?

Malicious activity is an unauthorized breach of network traffic or processes on any connected device or system. Malicious threat actors perform these suspicious activities using various attack vectors and looking for financial gain. These actors differ widely in attack techniques, sophistication, and whether they are linked to a cybercriminal group or not. There are multiple types of malicious software, and cybercriminals use many of them.  Therefore, it is essential to find out how to detect malicious activities on various platforms for different uses. Evidence of what an antagonistic activity on a network can do is everywhere.

For all organizations connected to the Internet, using it to store a company’s data or communicate with the employees, it is necessary to understand what a malicious activity can do. As digital transformation is in full rage, cybercriminals know how to use this digital shift to mold and escalate the threat landscape they create.

Malicious activities can come in various forms, particularly from an organizational point of view. It includes

  • Network anomalies
  • Strange network behavior
  • Problem with the network traffic flow
  • System downtime
  • Vulnerabilities exploitation in the system
  • Data breach and compromised system
  • DDoS (Denial of service) attacks

There are several tools and best practices to avoid malicious activities. Let’s discuss some of them.

Network Security Tools

Here is a list of tools you can use to detect malicious activities in a network.

1. Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

An Intrusion Detection System analyzes activities on a network and vulnerabilities in a system to search for patterns and reasons for known threats. Here are two main types of IDS, Host Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) protects an individual host system, and Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) monitors an entire subnet at a network level. IDS raises flags for malicious or suspicious activities or any intrusion detected and sends notifications to the IT team. It does not take action to prevent or avoid that activity.

2. Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is an evolution of IDS. The capabilities and functions of an IPS are similar to an IDS. However, there is a difference that an IPS can take action to prevent or avoid malicious or suspicious activities. IP can also be referred to as an Intrusion Detection Prevention System (IDPS).

3. Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM)

A Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) tool are designed to help companies manage the massive volume of data and signals and tie up threat information for a centralized view of IT infrastructure. SIEM comes in various sizes and shapes, but it is promising to monitor, analyze, and record network activities to detect potential security events or incidents in real-time and send alerts to IT teams. So they can take appropriate actions.

4. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data protection is the most important thing for most organizations. It is the primary target of most cyberattacks, whether sensitive data of employees or customers, bank or credit card information, corporate data, or confidential intellectual property. Data loss prevention, also referred to as Data Leak Prevention or Data Loss Protection protects data and ensures that personal or sensitive data is secured and not exposed or compromised. DLP often enforces data handling policies based on how information is classified. In most cases, it can automatically detect things like Social Security numbers or credit card numbers depending on the data format to alert the IT team and avoid unauthorized disclosure.

5. Network Behavior Anomaly Detection (NBAD)

A simple way to identify suspicious or malicious activities is to detect a move out of the ordinary. NBAD, also termed as network detective establishes a baseline of normal activities on a network and gives real-time monitoring of activities and traffic to see unusual events, trends, or activities. Anomaly detection can identify emerging threats, such as zero-day attacks, because it looks for unusual activity instead of relying on indicators of compromise of specific threats.

-the-lookout-for-malicious-activitiesBest practices to prevent malicious activities in a network

Apart from these tools, you can follow these best practices to avoid malicious network activity.

  • Identify malicious emails_ Malicious actors use phishing emails to access sensitive data. It’s a growing trend in cyberspace, and employees should practice safe email protocol and must be careful while clicking on the links from unknown resources. It’s also important to have network security protection in place.
  • Report a slower-than-normal network_ A malware outbreak or hacking attempt often results in a slower network. Employees should quickly inform the IT security department when they face slower than typical network speed.
  • Identify suspicious pop-ups_ Increased security in a business environment means safe web browsing. Employees should not click on the pop-up windows appearing on the websites. Unknown pop-ups can be infected with spyware or malware that compromise a network.
  • Note abnormal password activity_ If an employee is locked out of their system and gets an email saying that a password has been changed, it can signify that the password is compromised. The best practice is to ensure that all employees use strong and unique passwords for all accounts and update the network every six months.

Conclusion

The threat of a cyberattack on your organization is real. Protecting your business network comes down to ensuring that security controls exist across the organization. The security tools and best practices mentioned in the article are simple and allow organizations to focus on their core business activities. It lets them take advantage of a modern world of digital business opportunities. Adequately configured network security tools are helpful for monitoring and analyzing overwhelming network traffic in a rapidly changing, dynamic environment and detecting potentially malicious activities.

Malicious activities can often go undetected in a network because they are disguised as regular traffic. By properly configuring your security tools, you can monitor and analyze network traffic to detect any activities that may be malicious. Protected Harbor provides 360-degree security protection from most threats and malicious activities. Our expert tech team is a step ahead of phishing and malware attacks with a proactive approach. Partner with us today and be secured from malicious activities.

Top 10 Ransomware Attacks 2021

Top 10 Ransomware attacks

 

Ransomware Definition

Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that threatens to publish or prevent access to data or a computer system, typically by encrypting it, unless the victim pays the attacker a ransom amount. The ransom demand usually involves a deadline. If the victim doesn’t pay on time, the data is permanently lost, or the ransom is increased.

Attacks using ransomware are all too frequent these days. It has affected both large firms in North America and Europe. Cybercriminals will target any customer or any company, and victims come from every sector of the economy.

The FBI and other government agencies, as does the No More Ransom Project, advise against paying the ransom to prevent the ransomware cycle. If the ransomware is not removed from the system, 50% of the victims who pay the ransom are likely to experience further attacks.

 

History and Future of Ransomware

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the first known ransomware attack occurred in 1989 and targeted the healthcare industry. 28 years later, the healthcare industry remains a top target for ransomware attacks.

The first known attack was initiated in 1989 by Joseph Popp, Ph.D., an AIDS researcher, who attacked by distributing 20,000 floppy disks to AIDS researchers spanning more than 90 countries, claiming that the disks contained a program that analyzed an individual’s risk of acquiring AIDS through the use of a questionnaire.

However, the disk also contained a malware program that initially remained dormant in computers, only activating after a computer was powered on 90 times. After the 90-start threshold was reached, the malware displayed a message demanding a payment of $189 and another $378 for a software lease. This ransomware attack became known as the AIDS Trojan or the PC Cyborg.

There will be no end to ransomware anytime soon. Ransomware attacks have skyrocketed in 2021 and will continue to rise. About 304.7 million ransomware attacks were attempted in the first half of 2021, and many attacks went unreported as per Ransomware statistics 2021.

A recent report by Tripwire supported the fact that ransomware will keep growing, and the post-ransomware costs will keep climbing significantly. There’s no denying the fact that Ransomware is being used as a weapon, and how ransomware spreads is no longer a mystery.

Modern-day attacks target operational technology, medical and healthcare services, third-party software, and IoT devices. Fortunately, organizations don’t have to be sitting ducks; they can minimize the risk of attacks by being proactive and having a reliable ransomware data recovery infrastructure.

 

Top Ransomware Attacks

1. Kia Motors

Kia Motors America (KMA) was hit by a ransomware attack in February that hit both internal and customer-facing systems, including mobile apps, payment services, phone services, and dealership systems. The hack also impacted customers’ IT systems that were required to deliver new vehicles.

DoppelPaymer was thought to be the ransomware family that hit Kia, and the threat actors claimed to have also targeted Kia’s parent business, Hyundai Motors America. Similar system failures were also experienced by Hyundai.

On the other hand, Kia and Hyundai denied being assaulted, which is a frequent approach used by victims to protect their reputation and customer loyalty.

 

2. CD Projekt Red

In February 2021, a ransomware attack hit CD Projekt Red, a video game studio located in Poland, causing significant delays in developing their highly anticipated next release, Cyberpunk 2077. The threat actors apparently stole source codes for numerous of the company’s video games, including Cyberpunk 2077, Gwent, The Witcher 3, and an unpublished version of The Witcher 3.

According to CD Projekt Red, the unlawfully obtained material is currently being distributed online. Following the incident, the company installed many security measures, including new firewalls with anti-malware protection, a new remote-access solution, and a redesign of critical IT infrastructure, according to the company.

 

3. Acer

Acer, a Taiwanese computer manufacturer, was hit by the REvil ransomware outbreak in March. This attack was notable because it demanded a ransom of $50,000,000, the greatest known ransom to date.

According to Advanced Intelligence, the REvil gang targeted a Microsoft Exchange server on Acer’s domain before the attack, implying that the Microsoft Exchange vulnerability was weaponized.

 

4. DC Police Department

The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., was hit by ransomware from the Babuk gang, a Russian ransomware syndicate. The police department refused to pay the $4 million demanded by the group in exchange for not exposing the agency’s information.

Internal material, including police officer disciplinary files and intelligence reports, was massively leaked due to the attack, resulting in a 250GB data breach. Experts said it was the worst ransomware attack on a police agency in the United States.

 

5. Colonial Pipeline

The Colonial Pipeline ransomware assault in 2021 was likely the most high-profile of the year. The Colonial Pipeline transports roughly half of the fuel on the East Coast. The ransomware attack was the most significant hack on oil infrastructure in US history.

On May 7, the DarkSide group infected the organization’s computerized pipeline management equipment with ransomware. DarkSide’s attack vector, according to Colonial Pipeline’s CEO, was a single hacked password for an active VPN account that was no longer in use. Because Colonial Pipeline did not use multi-factor authentication, attackers could access the company’s IT network and data more quickly.

 

6. Brenntag

In May, Brenntag, a German chemical distribution company, was also struck by a DarkSide ransomware attack around the same time as Colonial Pipeline. According to DarkSide, the hack targeted the company’s North American business and resulted in the theft of 150 GB of critical data.

They got access by buying stolen credentials, according to DarkSide affiliates. Threat actors frequently buy stolen credentials — such as Remote Desktop credentials — on the dark web, which is why multi-factor authentication and detecting unsafe RDP connections are critical.

The first demand from DarkSide was 133.65 Bitcoin, or nearly $7.5 million, which would have been the highest payment ever made. Brenntag reduced the ransom to $4.4 million through discussions, which they paid.

 

7. Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE)

In May 2021, a variation of Conti ransomware infected Ireland’s HSE, which provides healthcare and social services. The organization shut down all of its IT systems after the incident. Many health services in Ireland were impacted, including the processing of blood tests and diagnoses.

The firm refused to pay the $20 million ransom in Bitcoin because the Conti ransomware group provided the software decryption key for free. However, the Irish health service was still subjected to months of substantial disruption as it worked to repair 2,000 IT systems that had been infected by ransomware.

 

8. JBS

Also, in May 2021, JBS, the world’s largest meat processing plant, was hit by a ransomware attack that forced the company to stop the operation of all its beef plants in the U.S. and slow the production of pork and poultry. The cyberattack significantly impacted the food supply chain and highlighted the manufacturing and agricultural sectors’ vulnerability to disruptions of this nature.

The FBI identified the threat actors as the REvil ransomware-as-a-service operation. According to JBS, the threat actors targeted servers supporting North American and Australian IT systems. The company ultimately paid a ransom of $11 million to the Russian-based ransomware gang to prevent further disruption.

 

9. Kaseya

Kaseya, an IT services company for MSP and enterprise clients, was another victim of REvil ransomware — this time during the July 4th holiday weekend. Although only 1% of Kaseya’s customers were breached, an estimated 800 to 1500 small to mid-sized businesses were affected through their MSP. One of those businesses included 800 Coop stores, a Sweden-based supermarket chain that was forced to temporarily close due to an inability to open their cash registers.

The attackers identified a chain of vulnerabilities — ranging from improper authentication validation to SQL injection — in Kaseya’s on-premises VSA software, which organizations typically run in their DMZs. REvil then used MSP’s Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools to push out the attack to all connected agents.

 

10. Accenture

The ransomware gang LockBit hit Accenture, the global tech consultancy, with an attack in August that resulted in a leak of over 2,000 stolen files. The slow leak suggests that Accenture did not pay the $50 million ransom.

According to CyberScoop, Accenture knew about the attack on July 30 but did not confirm the breach until August 11, after a CNBC reporter tweeted about it. CRN criticized the firm for its lack of transparency about the attack, saying that the incident was a “missed opportunity by an IT heavyweight” to help spread awareness about ransomware.

 

Bonus: CNA Financial (2021)

CNA Financial, the seventh largest commercial insurer in the United States, announced on March 23, 2021, that it had “experienced a sophisticated cybersecurity attack.” Phoenix Locker ransomware was used in the attack, which was carried out by a group called Phoenix.

CNA Financial paid $40 million in May 2021 to regain access to the data. While CNA has been tight-lipped about the specifics of the negotiation and sale, it claims that all of its systems have been fully restored since then.

 

Types of ransomware:

There are two main types of ransomware:

  1. Crypto Ransomware

    Encrypts valuable files on a computer so that the user cannot access them.

  2. Locker Ransomware

    Does not encrypt files. Rather, it locks the victim out of their device, preventing them from using it. Once they are locked out, cybercriminals carrying out locker ransomware attacks will demand a ransom to unlock the device.

Now you understand what ransomware is and the two main types of ransomware that exist. Let’s explore 10 types of ransomware attacks to help you understand how different and dangerous each type can be.

  • Locky

    Locky is a type of ransomware that was first released in a 2016 attack by an organized group of hackers. With the ability to encrypt over 160 file types, Locky spreads by tricking victims to install it via fake emails with infected attachments. This method of transmission is called phishing, a form of social engineering. Locky targets a range of file types that are often used by designers, developers, engineers, and testers.

  • WannaCry

    WannaCry is a ransomware attack that spread across 150 countries in 2017. Designed to exploit a vulnerability in Windows, it was allegedly created by the United States National Security Agency and leaked by the Shadow Brokers group. WannaCry affected 230,000 computers globally. The attack hit a third of hospital trusts in the UK, costing the NHS an estimated £92 million. Users were locked out and a ransom was demanded in the form of Bitcoin. The attack highlighted the problematic use of outdated systems, leaving the vital health service vulnerable to attack. The global financial impact of WannaCry was substantial -the cybercrime caused an estimated $4 billion in financial losses worldwide.

  • Bad Rabbit

    Bad Rabbit is a 2017 ransomware attack that spread using a method called a ‘drive-by’ attack, where insecure websites are targeted and used to carry out an attack. During a drive-by ransomware attack, a user visits a legitimate website, not knowing that they have been compromised by a hacker. Drive-by attacks often require no action from the victim, beyond browsing the compromised page. However, in this case, they are infected when they click to install something that is malware in disguise. This element is known as a malware dropper. Bad Rabbit used a fake request to install Adobe Flash as a malware dropper to spread its infection.

  • Ryuk

    Its a ransomware, which spread in August 2018, disabled the Windows System Restore option, making it impossible to restore encrypted files without a backup. Ryuk also encrypted network drives. The effects were crippling, and many organizations targeted in the US paid the demanded ransoms. August 2018 reports estimated funds raised from the attack were over $640,000.

  • Troldesh

    The Troldesh ransomware attack happened in 2015 and was spread via spam emails with infected links or attachments. Interestingly, the Troldesh attackers communicated with victims directly over email to demand ransoms. The cybercriminals even negotiated discounts for victims with who they built a rapport with — a rare occurrence indeed. This tale is the exception, not the rule. It is never a good idea to negotiate with cybercriminals. Avoid paying the demanded ransom at all costs as doing so only encourages this form of cybercrime.

  • Jigsaw

    Jigsaw is a ransomware attack that started in 2016. This attack got its name as it featured an image of the puppet from the Saw film franchise. Jigsaw gradually deleted more of the victim’s files each hour that the ransom demand was left unpaid. The use of horror movie imagery in this attack caused victims additional distress.

  • CryptoLocker

    CryptoLocker is ransomware that was first seen in 2007 and spread through infected email attachments. Once on your computer, it searched for valuable files to encrypt and hold to ransom. Thought to have affected around 500,000 computers, law enforcement, and security companies eventually managed to seize a worldwide network of hijacked home computers that were being used to spread Cryptolocker. This allowed them to control part of the criminal network and grab the data as it was being sent, without the criminals knowing. This action later led to the development of an online portal where victims could get a key to unlock and release their data for free without paying the criminals.

  • Petya

    Petya (not to be confused with ExPetr) is a ransomware attack that first hit in 2016 and resurged in 2017 as GoldenEye. Rather than encrypting specific files, this vicious ransomware encrypts the victim’s entire hard drive. It does this by encrypting the primary file table, making accessing files on the disk impossible. Petya spread through HR departments via a fake job application email with an infected Dropbox link.

  • GoldenEye

    The resurgence of Petya, known as GoldenEye, led to a global ransomware attack that happened in 2017. Dubbed WannaCry’s ‘deadly sibling,’ GoldenEye hit over 2,000 targets, including prominent oil producers in Russia and several banks. Frighteningly, GoldenEye even forced workers at the Chernobyl nuclear plant to check radiation levels manually as they had been locked out of their Windows PCs.

  • GandCrab

    GandCrab is a rather unsavory famous ransomware attack that threatened to reveal the victim’s porn-watching habits. Claiming to have a high-jacked user’s webcam, GandCrab cybercriminals demanded a ransom, or otherwise, they would make the embarrassing footage public. After having first hit in January 2018, GandCrab evolved into multiple versions. As part of the No More Ransom Initiative, internet security providers and the police collaborated to develop a ransomware decryptor to rescue victims’ sensitive data from GandCrab.

How to Spot a Ransomware Email

You now know about the various types of ransomware attacks that have been perpetrated against individuals and businesses in recent years. Many of the victims of the ransomware attacks we’ve mentioned became infected after clicking on links in spam emails or opening malicious attachments.

So, how can you avoid being a victim of a ransomware assault if you receive a ransomware email? Checking the sender is the easiest approach to recognizing a ransomware email. Is it from a reliable source? Always be cautious if you receive an email from someone or a firm you don’t recognize.

Never open email attachments from senders you don’t trust, and never click on links in emails from untrustworthy sources. If the attachment asks you to activate macros, proceed with caution. This is a popular method of ransomware distribution.

 

Using a Ransomware Decryptor

Do not pay the ransom if you are the victim of a ransomware assault. Paying the ransom demanded by cybercriminals does not guarantee that your data will be returned. After all, these are crooks. It also strengthens the ransomware industry, increasing the likelihood of future assaults. You will be able to restore the data that is being held to ransom if it is backed up outside or in cloud storage.

 

Types of Ransomware Extensions

The ransomware includes a particular file extension, you can point it out with some of the extensions defined below

.ecc, .ezz, .exx, .zzz, .xyz, .aaa, .abc, .ccc, .vvv, .xxx, .ttt, .micro, .encrypted, .locked, .crypto, _crypt, .crinf, .r5a, .XRNT, .XTBL, .crypt, .R16M01D05, .pzdc, .good, .LOL!, .OMG!, .RDM, .RRK, .encryptedRSA, .crjoker, .EnCiPhErEd, .LeChiffre, .keybtc@inbox_com, .0x0, .bleep, .1999, .vault, .HA3, .toxcrypt, .magic, .SUPERCRYPT, .CTBL, .CTB2, .locky or 6-7 length extension consisting of random characters