There’s no way around it; ransomware is bad stuff, plain and simple. The first half of 2021 saw a massive increase in ransomware attacks that made the lives of countless individuals and business professionals difficult. However, a new trend is surfacing, and it’s one that you might be surprised to see: fake ransomware threats.
That’s right; some hackers have the gall to fool users into believing that their systems have been infected by ransomware. They then use the ensuing fear to their advantage in a plethora of ways. Just think about how you might react the second you see that there’s a message on your computer claiming that your device has been infected by ransomware. What would your knee-jerk reaction be? Would you panic and fall into their hands, or would you follow the established policies?
It’s a tough question to answer because it is difficult to know just how we might respond in the event of a stressful situation like a ransomware attack, but the general consensus is that it’s of paramount importance to not panic and report the supposed attack to your trusted IT resource, be it someone within your organization or us, if we handle your network.
The reasoning for this is simple: there is no way to know the scale or scope of the attack unless you get a professional involved, if there is even a breach at all. In some cases, hackers might use the panic and fear of a ransomware attack to scam someone out of hundreds or thousands of dollars. They might use language indicating that they must pay a ransom in advance, otherwise, their computer will be locked down in the near future.
Think about it this way; let’s say you get an email saying that someone has caught you on camera doing something incriminating or embarrassing. There is an attachment to this email of a picture, but you know how these threats operate—after all, what if the picture itself is infected? Then again, what if they actually do have dirt on you in some way? In a panic and fearing the worst, you pay their fee. Then, after the fact, you get IT involved and they discover that, as expected, the picture is not even of you. Now you are both embarrassed and out of some cash.
These fake ransomware attacks work in much the same way, and they are most effective when the fees are low compared to the massive price tags that some hackers are able to demand for their ransoms. Other times, hackers might send an email with an attachment for the “decryption key,” but it’s really just a different threat that can then install on the device. In other words, these fake ransomware attacks have a solid chance of either a) Not being a threat at all or b) A different threat in disguise.
Again, we want to reiterate that you should consult with a professional before jumping to conclusions, especially in the realm of ransomware and cybersecurity. If you do not have a professional to consult, Heart of Texas Network Consultants would be happy to take that place amongst your ranks. We can not only protect your business from ransomware, but also assist with responding to threats as they unfold.
To learn more about our services, reach out to us at (254) 848-7100.