By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
If there’s anything more devastating than ransomware, it’s a data wiping attack. Ransomware, at the very least, gives you a way to realistically recover your files; once a data wiping attack hits, all the files in your system are deleted permanently, and recovery efforts are significantly harder, if not impossible. To protect yourself, you may want to consider downloading an anonymous VPN, among other safety precautions.
Data wiping attacks
A data wiping attack is a type of cyber attack wherein the aim of the perpetrator is to completely wipe away all data on the targeted device. Most data wiping attacks are software-based, are carried out via the usual attack methods, and can be supported by social engineering and other infection techniques.
Data wiping is different from basic file erasure commands in that with the latter, only the virtual link to the file is deleted and the file remains in the hard disk. This means that the file can still be accessed using the right recovery tools. Data wiping, on the other hand, completely eradicates not just the virtual link to file, but also the file itself.
Therefore, a data wiping attack can be devastating because it makes it impossible for the victim to recover their lost files. A data wiping attack can result in substantial losses, especially for enterprises and large organizations.
Three of the most popular wiper strains
The Shamoon computer virus is notorious for being involved in a number of headlining wiper attacks since first appearing in 2012, when it victimized Saudi Aramco and other oil firms in Saudi Arabia. The strain appeared again in November 2016, attacking several Saudi Arabian government offices.
StoneDrill is believed to be an enhanced version of the Shamoon computer virus, which was found by Russian antivirus company Kaspersky Lab in March 2017 targeting European networks. StoneDrill is considered an enhanced version of Shamoon because of its improved evasion capabilities and an added ransomware module.
In March 2013, South Korea experienced widespread data wiping attacks that deleted the files of an estimated 32,000 personal computers. Several news organizations, banks and government offices were shut down as a result of the attack. The strain, which was named Dark Seoul, would resurface in 2015 to target the European logistics and transportation sector.
4 tips to protect your files from data wiping attacks
If you want to ensure that your files are protected from data wiping attacks, there are a number of precautions that you can consider to make this possible.
- Don’t skimp on software upgrades. Upgrades are done for a lot of reasons, and one of these is to introduce patches to previously known vulnerabilities. Make sure to keep your operating system and security software up to date at all times.
- Be careful what you click. Data wiping attacks us with the same vectors as malware infections, including infected images, spoofed sites and file downloads, so be careful what you click.
- Avoid shady websites. A lot of websites are infected with malware, and adult sites and untrusted sites definitely rank high among the most infected ones. When surfing the web, it’s best to avoid these.
- Use an anonymous VPN. Today, there are a number of anonymous VPN software that provide added protection against malware attacks online. One such software is Hotspot Shield, which protects users from infections by blocking access to infected sites.
How an anonymous VPN like Hotspot Shield protects you
Hotspot Shield can make your online sessions protected against data wiping attacks by notifying you if you’re about to open an infected site. Hotspot Shield uses a database of websites that are known to be infected to make this possible. With this, you are immediately informed if there’s a potential attack coming your way.
To learn more about this and other benefits, visit the Hotspot Shield website today. To download the free version of Hotspot Shield, click here. Get more tips on online security and anonymity by reading our blog!