Ransomware is a type of malware designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. Typically, a ransomware attack starts with an innocent-looking email with an infected link or fake document attached. In fact, the average company received a whopping 90% of their detected malware through email, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). Unfortunately, phishing emails are getting more clever every day. For example, you might get a message that looks like it’s from a known delivery company, asking you to click to get the status of a package.
A lot of people will click because we all come across emails like this on a daily basis. But if it’s ransomware, clicking will cause the malware to execute/install and then spread throughout the network, encrypting all your devices and data and blocking you out. Once your system is completely encrypted, a message will appear on your screen with the extortion demand. It might go something like this: “Your network is now owned by us. You are locked out. In order to regain access, you must pay a certain amount of bitcoin and here are the instructions to do it.” There are many variations of this message and many include an exact deadline.