In 2020, cyberattacks that affected businesses increased by 40%. Most of the attachments contained in the messages were viruses called “Ransomware.” In this post, I explain how to recognize scam emails and solutions to protect your office computers.

How ransomware spreads?

Ransomware infection typically spreads through compromised websites, system vulnerabilities, or phishing emails. Let’s see them in detail.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a computer virus spread by cybercriminals via email attachments. They aim to make files and devices inaccessible through access blocking and file encryption. Once this is done, the hackers require the payment of a ransom to remove the lock or decrypt the files.

The required amount can exceed hundreds of euros. If you decide to refuse payment of the ransom, the virus will permanently delete documents or block the device.

Navigation in compromised websites

Some sites may become infected with tools to spread ransomware. An example is an Angler exploit kit that spreads CryptXXX. Users can contract the virus by browsing a compromised site using a browser with out-of-date components.

System vulnerabilities

Ransomware can exploit remote desktop protocol (RDP) vulnerabilities. After you have pierced a site, these viruses can replace download links entered by the company that created the site.

Phishing emails

The malicious e-mail message tricks the user into almost perfectly replicating a communication from a trusted site. The most commonly used types of communications are mails from Express Couriers, energy managers, telephone operators, banking companies, or revenue agencies. Below are some examples of scam messages.

These emails may contain links to malicious sites or attachments. These attachments also disguise themselves as documents such as invoices or credit memos but hide malicious software.

The most popular ransomware is Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, or TorrentLocker. If opened, they infect your computer and block documents on your PC and network.

The latest versions of this malicious software are more dangerous because they do not give the possibility to recover files by decryption.

Bitcoin is a ” virtual currency, “ exists only on the web. This apparent limitation is its main strength. A bitcoin cannot be seized, falsified, destroyed, or ruined. – source Wikipedia.

6 tips to avoid ransomware

To avoid being infected with ransomware, you need to use, in addition to an updated antivirus, the following precautions.

  1. Pay attention to attachments. It is advisable to check for attachments with the sender.
  2. Avoid opening unsafe links. We recommend that you only access official sites that you can find on search engines like Google.
  3. Avoid downloading. Pdf. Zip. EXE, JS contained on websites. For example, couriers show online tracking and don’t download attachments.
  4. Back up your files. The most commonly used rule for backing up is the 3-2-1 rule. The procedure consists of having three copies of the data thus arranged: two documents saved on two different equipment and one contained in a separate location.
  5. Install and keep security systems up to date. With the most viruses in circulation, my advice is to install security software such as antivirus, antimalware, anti-ransomware.
  6. Update your system and applications regularly. Software houses try to make their products safer by implementing protections against new vulnerabilities in updates.

The solutions offered by Trend Micro™

Trend Micro™, a world leader in software security, has provided two free tools that help users, businesses, and organizations address the dangers of ransomware.

The two solutions differ in the type of file recovery.

  • With Trend Micro Crypto-Ransomware File Decryptor, you can recover files held hostage by TeslaCrypt and CryptXXX ransomware that make them unusable via an encryption system.
  • With Trend Micro Lock Screen Ransomware, you can regain access to files via screen enablement.

One of the goals of the solutions is to prevent affected users or companies from releasing themselves from the pressure and paying the ransom to get their sensitive data back.

The impact of a virus on users, SMEs, or large companies is always significant, which is why Trend Micro™ solutions aim to mitigate side effects by recovering essential files and system access.

How to defend yourself against viruses in emails: Conclusion

Kaspersky Lab reported in the Spam and Phishing report that companies in a year suffer more than a million attacks via malicious attachments. The most common type of virus via email is ransomware.

Emails that contain this type of virus are disguised as objects involving banks, energy managers, telephone operators, and much more, all those arguments that attract the user to read the content and download the attachments.