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Ransomware - OMG by Librarian Nicholas Saturno 

What is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. Ransomware typically spreads through phishing emails or by a victim unknowingly visiting an infected website. 

How ransomware works? 

There are several vectors ransomware can take to access a computer. One of the most common delivery systems is phishing spam — attachments that come to the victim in an email, masquerading as a file they should trust. Once they're downloaded and opened, they can take over the victim's computer, especially if they have built-in social engineering tools that trick users into allowing administrative access. Some other, more aggressive forms of ransomware, like NotPetya, exploit security holes to infect computers without needing to trick users. 

Who is a target for ransomware? 

There are several different ways attackers choose the organizations they target with ransomware. Sometimes it's a matter of opportunity: for instance, attackers might target universities because they tend to have smaller security teams and a disparate user base that does a lot of file sharing, making it easier to penetrate their defenses. 

On the other hand, some organizations are tempting targets because they seem more likely to pay a ransom quickly. For instance, government agencies or medical facilities often need immediate access to their files. Law firms and other organizations with sensitive data may be willing to pay to keep news of a compromise quiet — and these organizations may be uniquely sensitive to leak ware attacks. 

How to prevent Ransomware attacks? 

  1. Update software and operating systems with the latest patches. Outdated applications and operating systems are the target of most attacks. 

  1. Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails. 

  1. Back up data on a regular basis. Keep it on a separate device and store it offline. 

  1. Follow safe practices when using devices that connect to the Internet.