Ransomware is the name for malware that once installed on a computer, often unwittingly through clicking on links in spear phishing emails, encrypts and locks all of the victim’s data. The cybercriminal then threatens to destroy the data unless a bounty is paid. Earlier this year we experienced two massive ransomware attacks against millions of computers around the world. These were the infamous WannaCry and Peta ransomware attacks. Now cybercriminals are launching a new strain of ransomware that carries the name “Bad Rabbit.” Reproduced below is what appears on your screen if you become infected with the Bad Rabbit ransomware. While to date the ransomware attacks using Bad Rabbit appear to be limited to Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Germany, you can expect the use of Bad Rabbit to spread.
According to security company Kaspersky Labs this ransomware attack was primarily launched when victims downloaded fake Adobe Flash programs from infected websites. However, quite often ransomware attacks as well as other types of malware attacks are spread through phishing emails that lure unsuspecting people into clicking on malware infected links or downloading attachments tainted with malware. As I am constantly reminding you, never click on links or download attachments until you have confirmed that they are legitimate.
You also should update all of your electronic devices with the latest security updates and patches as soon as they become available, preferably automatically. Many past ransomware attacks exploited vulnerabilities for which patches had already been issued.
As for protecting yourself specifically from ransomware, you should back up all of your data on at least two different platforms, such as in the Cloud and on a portable hard drive. Companies and agencies which can afford to do this, should also use Whitelisting software which prevents the installation of any unauthorized computer software programs.