Ransomware Explained: How It Works And How To Prevent It

The word Ransom means the money one has to pay for the data or goods. It is the type of malware that encrypts the affected user. Ransomware is a threat to the digital world and 91% of the attack is caused by a phishing email. According to the survey of Security magazine, there are around 2200 ransomware attacks taking place in the world. The Ransomware attack targets both personal and professional data. The first Ransomware attack was seen in Russia. Even though the attacks are increasing and the ways to prevent them are also increasing.

Ransomware Explained


The user is blocked by the hackers to access the file or data in the system and it is done by encrypting the data. When the user pays some money as demanded the data can be retrieved by the user. The amount that needs to be paid for the attack varies depending on the ransomware versions.

How does the Ransomware work?

The Ransomware will target a system and it can also enter the system using an email attachment when the user clicks any popup from unauthorized websites and downloads the software without a license. These are the most possible ways the ransomware enters the system and once it got into the victim’s system it will encrypt all the files. After the hacker has encrypted the data, the user cannot able to open the file.

It will also automatically shut down the system and threatens the user that sensitive information like pictures, videos, and login credentials will be shared on the internet or sell them in the black market.

Removal of Ransomware

The primary task is to remove the ransomware from the affected systems. This is possible by running the Windows operating system in safe mode. To get the program that is affected by the ransomware install the antimalware and scan the system. After finding the program, it can be uninstalled and the computer can be back to its normal state.

The computer comes to a normal state after detecting and removing the malware but the files will not be decrypted without the key used by the hackers.

Some of the Ransomware Examples

Wannacry − It is a type of malware used by hackers to get a ransom from the user.

Eternal Blue − It attacks the computer network by inserting malicious data packets to spread ransomware. It is used for spreading the WannaCry and Petya. Petya was used by the Russians to have a cybercriminal attack on Ukraine.

TeslaCrypt − This ransomware is similar to the crypto locker. It will encrypt the game files and data but will not encrypt data above 268MB and also demands money of $500.

Maze − It is the recent ransomware that involves selling the stolen data into the online market when the victim has not paid for the encrypted data.

How to Prevent Ransomware?

The ransomware attack can be prevented by the following steps,

Email Phishing − The most common attack by malware is spread through Emails and so by not clicking the unauthorized link or downloads; we can avoid the ransomware attack.

Backup Rule − To keep the data secure we can follow the 3-2-1 rule. This rule makes several copies of the single data in different storage devices so there will be a high possibility of recovering the data.

Updating software − The applications in the system need to be regularly updated to protect from the recent malicious code.

Antivirus Software − When the antivirus software is installed in a particular it will scan regularly for any viruses, malware, or ransomware. If any malfunctions occur, then the antivirus will push the notification.

File Sharing − When a specific device has been already affected by ransomware, then when the file is shared from that device to the other there will be a chance of sharing of the ransomware.

Strong Password − The Passwords need to be created with alphabets, numeric and special characters. It should not be used to sign up for all the accounts. The user should not use weak passwords like date of birth and also should not accept the suggestions given by the websites.

End user attack − In the professional field, organizations face cyber-attacks commonly on the end user side. To avoid this, the employees should be given proper training about the threats and the ways to avoid them.

Popup − Avoid clicking the website popup from unauthorized websites and third-party software. Not all popup is dangerous but some are prone to ransomware attack which asks for money using advertisements.


The Ransomware attacked data can be recovered in many cases and cannot be done when the data is not backed up. When the system is recovered from the ransomware attack and the data will not decrypt. In the current technology, there is much software available to decrypt the data without the use of a key and money.

Updated on: 26-Apr-2023


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