Malware Versus Ransomware: What’s the Difference?

Malware is a more powerful force that can damage industries and disrupt entire online environments through hacking and sensitive information leaking. Ransomware is a more targeted approach that aims to take control of people’s computers and lock software and files.
 
To get files back and regain access to a computer, the ransom attacker will ask for a payment. Supposedly, once they receive the payment, they will send a unique key to release it. 
 
Should You Pay The Ransom?
 
There is no one way to answer this question.  The decision to pay ransomware demand should not be taken lightly. It comes with acceptance of several risks and in coordination with legal counsel, cyber insurance and security experts. Should you decide to pay the ransom, you need to be aware of the following key factors:
 
• You could be targeted again in the future
• There is no guarantee that you will get your data decrypted
• Your systems may still be infected
• You may be paying cyber criminals who are carrying out illegal activities just like your incident
 
Irrespective of the ransomware payment decision, it may take a while to return to normal operations. Cyphere , a UK based cyber security and managed services provider, provides the following top tips against malware and ransomware attacks:
 
Tip 1: Prevent Malware Delivery
Email and web filtering to allow required file types and data expected by recipients. By blocking suspicious websites and continuous inspection of internet content, malware transmission can be stopped before it reaches your internal systems. 
Secure remote access is an important to add layered protection for networks. 
 
Tip 2: Prevent Malware Infection 
In line with defence in depth approach, follow secure hardening practices for operating system builds in your environment. 
Patch Management is an important mitigation that ensures all exploitable bugs in your products are patched as soon as possible. Scripting environments should have restrictions to avoid the execution and spread of malware. This includes disabling Office Macros or limiting scripting environments using AppLocker enforced via group policy. 
 
Tip 3: Limit the Impact
Use the principle of least privilege to provide remote access with only low privilege accounts to login. Regularly review permissions for all the staff including internal and external employees. Create separate accounts for corporate and production environments.Segregate obsolete systems from the rest of the network to maintain a small attack surface. 
 
Tip 4: Education
User education and awareness training plays key role in stopping malware. Cyber security importance in the user training should address at the least these facts:
 
• Defending against phishing
• Strong authentication practices 
• Securing your devices
• Reporting incidents 
 
There should be zero exceptions for this awareness training exercise. Topics such as remote working securely, insider threats, cyber security tips for businesses in easy to understand language should be included. Consider your supply chain to ensure better cyber security posture.
 
Tip 5: Backups
Make regular backups of most important data to the organisation. Find out which data is critical to the organisation, and test backup data restore regularly to ensure it is working as expected. At the least, create one offline backup that is stored at a different location (offsite) from your network and systems. 
 
 
Be Prepared
The saying ‘we are too small’ - this isn’t applicable as malware and ransomware attacks target businesses irrespective of their size. Identify the critical assets and determine the impact in case your business is under attack. Identify the attack vectors possible in your business context, and mimic the exercise using third party penetration testing companies. 
 
What To Do When Your Company Is Hacked?
 
Malware Attack: Follow these steps immediately to limit the impact of a malware attack:
 
1. Disconnect the infected systems, devices immediately from all network connections (wired, wireless or mobile).
2. Reset credentials, especially privileged accounts.
3. Securely wipe the infected devices and reinstall the operating system from gold build. In case of an incident you need investigating into, get professional help from third party security providers. 
4. Double check that the underlying system is clean before restoring backup. 
5. Now connect these devices to network to download, install and update the software installed.
6. Install antivirus and run a full scan. Schedule periodic scans and on-access scanning capabilities. 
7. Monitor network traffic across the company to identify any similar behaviors. 
 
Ransomware Attack: A good initiative No More Ransom, supported by Europol European Cybercrime Centre and private companies, provides prevention advice and decryption tools from anti-virus vendors, which may help. 
 
Conclusion
Cybersecurity is a must-have for anyone who is heavily reliant on the internet for lifestyle, work, or leisure purposes. Too many attackers have made a foothold in the cybersphere, which means that staying safe must be everyone’s priority. 
 
Harman Singh: is Managing Consultant at Cyphere Ltd
 
You Might Also Read: 
 
Companies Are Coughing Up Ransom To Recover Their Data:
 
« Anticipating Cyber Attacks
Ireland's Privacy Regulator Is Investigating Instagram »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

LockLizard

LockLizard

Locklizard provides PDF DRM software that protects PDF documents from unauthorized access and misuse. Share and sell documents securely - prevent document leakage, sharing and piracy.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

Practice Labs

Practice Labs

Practice Labs is an IT competency hub, where live-lab environments give access to real equipment for hands-on practice of essential cybersecurity skills.

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO is the market leader in HPE Non-Stop Security, Risk Management and Compliance.

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

Syxsense

Syxsense

Syxsense brings together endpoint management and security for greater efficiency and collaboration between IT management and security teams.

Cylance Smart Antivirus

Cylance Smart Antivirus

An antivirus that works smarter, not harder, from BlackBerry. Lightweight, non-intrusive protection powered by artificial intelligence. BUY NOW - LIMITED DISCOUNT OFFER.

Cyber Security For Critical Manufacturing (ManuSec)

Cyber Security For Critical Manufacturing (ManuSec)

Cyber Security For Critical Manufacturing (Manusec) is a global series of summits focusing on Cyber Security for Critical Manufacturing Sectors.

NetFort

NetFort

NetFort provides software products to monitor activity on virtual and physical networks.

SentryBay

SentryBay

SentryBay is a real-time data security company developing technology for PC, mobile, the cloud and IoT.

Auxilium Cyber Security

Auxilium Cyber Security

Auxilium Cyber Security is independent information security consultancy company.

OneSpan

OneSpan

OneSpan (formerly Vasco Data Security) is a global leader in digital identity security, transaction security and business productivity.

LinkShadow

LinkShadow

LinkShadow is a next-generation cybersecurity solution that provides unparalleled detection of even the most sophisticated threats.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions

The Kratos Space, Training, and Cybersecurity division addresses key cybersecurity challenges, including cloud security, continuous monitoring, IT security, and risk management.

Qascom

Qascom

Qascom is an engineering company offering security solutions in satellite navigation and space cybersecurity. We are one of the European key players in GNSS authentication and security.