In a sign of the times, the word Ransomware has been added to the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary.
The inclusion of the word was probably a result of ransomware attacks such as WannaCry that hit the NHS and many other organisations last year. The story made headlines the world over and caused severe disruption and financial damage.
Simply put Ransomware is a type of malware that attempts to extort money from its victims. It does this by taking control of a device, encrypting the data and holding the device hostage and, preventing users from accessing it.
Often, Ransomware is spread the same way as other forms of malware. Typically, the victim will have clicked on a malicious link in an email or on a website.
Once Ransomware has established itself on a machine it will try to force the user into paying a ransom in order to regain access to the machines systems or data. Ransomware is a big money maker for criminals but thanks to the recent decline in the value of cryptocurrency Bitcoin and increased awareness of the threat the value and ease of such attacks have changed.
According to Malwarebytes, the final months of last year saw a drop in the number of cyber attackers using Ransomware, instead favouring more stealthy techniques such as Spyware and Trojans.
Phishing and Spear Phishing are the most common forms of malware and ransomware delivery so training and raising people’s awareness of what to look out for can greatly reduce the likelihood of ransomware infection. Setting up effective mailing filters can also reduce the number of dodgy emails arriving in your mailbox.
Following the advice found in the UK Governments Cyber Essentials scheme is a great starting place. If you would like your organisation to be Cyber Essentials, certified XQ can help. We are now an official Cyber Essentials Certification body!
With Ransomware now listed in the Oxford Dictionary, what other cyber-related words will we see added in the next edition?
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