Ransomware strains continue to be a problem, not just for individual users on the Internet, but also for businesses and organizations of various sizes in many industries. With the number of ransomware families increasing at an alarming rate–last year saw a 752-percent spike in the number of ransomware families, according to a report by Trend Micro published in February this year–there seems to be no sign of ransomware attacks slowing down in the near future.
To make matters worse, a new type of malware that is similar to ransomware has surfaced online, and it is called ransomworm. Combining all the encryption, data hostage and extortion shenanigans of ransomware with the persistence and replicating capabilities of computer worms, ransomworm is surely something that should be feared by individuals and organizations.
Ransomware and ransomworm
Ransomware is a type of malware that “kidnaps” all the files on the device, preventing the user from accessing them until a ransom is paid. Upon infecting a device, the files are encrypted and the victims are prompted to pay a certain amount (usually in Bitcoins) in exchange for the decryption key.
Ransomware is believed to be a billion-dollar industry, with victims so far ranging from individual Internet users to small and large corporations, schools and universities, government offices, banks, and medical organizations. For individuals, ransomware attacks are mostly breaches of privacy. For large organizations however, a ransomware infection can result in substantial business losses.
Perpetrators spread ransomware around through infected links and email attachments, drive-by downloads on infected sites, and through social engineering, among others. Most ransomware infections via these vectors can only take place with minimal human action.
Ransomworm, however, does not need the human factor for it to infect more devices; it just needs to stay hidden within a system and it will stealthy replicate itself to infect other systems in a network. Not only does this improve the rate at which a ransomware strain proliferates, it also makes it harder to get rid of.
If you’re worried about becoming infected with ransomware and ransomworm, the best that you can do is to beef up the security of your device. Aside from keeping your firewalls up and your security software up to date, there are additional measures that you can use to stay secure, and one of them is a malware protection VPN.
Stay secure with Hotspot Shield malware protection VPN
Most malware infections take place online. To stay secure while browsing your favorite online sites, install Hotspot Shield on your device. Hotspot Shield is a free download VPN for Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Chrome and Firefox that packs a number of features designed to improve your online browsing experience, and among these is added protection against malware for your device.
Hotspot Shield malware protection VPN secures your device from malware attacks by notifying you if the website or link that you’re trying to open is infected with malware. It prevents infections by first notifying you if the site is infected, and then blocks that site. To know if a site is infected or not, Hotspot Shield uses a database of websites that are know to be malware infected, updated regularly. For more information about its benefits, visit the Hotspot Shield website.
What are you waiting for? Avoid ransomware and ransomworm infections by installing Hotspot Shield malware protection VPN on your device today!
Fore more tips on malware security, Internet privacy, anonymity and content access, don’t forget to read our other blogs!