Ransomware protection can help ward off cases of encryption and locked data, but the protection usually can’t provide the same coverage in the case of extortion. Below is a breakdown of ransomware and encryption, including how ransomware protection might help.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that cybercriminals may deploy online so that they can hold a victim’s data for ransom. Usually, this includes a bad actor implementing encryption or locking the data, requiring an organization to pay for a decryption key to unlock the data. Sometimes the ransom may elevate to the next level of extortion in which the criminal will threaten to release the data they’ve stolen if a company does not pay.
Cyberattackers will find any way to infiltrate a business without discriminating between small, medium, or major enterprises because each has its own appeal for extortion. For large enterprises, it can be difficult to employ malware successfully, but if done, the ransoms can be higher. On the other hand, small businesses may not offer as high of a payout if successfully infiltrated, but they may be easier to attack because they usually have less sophisticated cybersecurity.
Ransomware protection can help a business fend off even the most prolific ransomware types by creating an extra layer of security, some of which may include data recovery, but it begs the question, how does the ransomware protection work for extortion compared to encryption?
Extortionware vs. Encryption Ransomware
Extortionware is very similar to ransomware, except that it is primarily concerned with extorting the victim for money if they don’t want their data to be leaked. Ransomware may encrypt a victim’s data and charge for the key to decrypt it, but extortionware entirely focuses on the public aspect of releasing compromising information, photos, emails, and similar that can be used as leverage for money. While extortion can be a part of a ransomware attack, ransomware can include other elements, such as reaching out to consumers of a breached business.
But while there may be a solution to ransomware, such as having a backup of data or recovering the files, there is no overt solution for extortionware. Once a cybercriminal has the compromising information, it’s too late to do anything about it. They are in possession of the data and can do as they want with it, even if crude, damaging, or illegal.
The Extortionware Process
Any criminal interested in extortionware will have to work harder than attacking via ransomware.The malware used for ransomware is a one-size-fits-all approach, which means it can be automated without much technical expertise or time. On the other hand, extortionware would require effort to pick a victim and sift through their data for compromising material to use for extortion.
Because there is no going back with extortionware, the best protection one has is to adopt anti-ransomwarebest practices to prevent a bad actor from ever accessing the data. Having strong ransomware protection means that there is less chance for either encryption or extortion to occur as a result of a hack.
In the case of ransomware, a good protection program may be able to help recover or unlock files that contain important data so that you can resume normal business practices, but that same program could not make a hacker delete the files they’ve acquired and are using to extort a business.
The best line of defense against ransomware is a good anti-ransomware cybersecurity stack that strengthens your security system.In contrast, a good anti-extortionware method is simply prevention.