It’s quite an irony that even though technology has become far more advanced, hackers continue to gain unauthorized access to computer systems worldwide. Hackers spend considerable time exploring the vulnerabilities that may be present in a system. And once such a vulnerability is detected, it gets easier to break into the system.
Once inside, hackers can do anything they want, such as delete your data or steal it. They can also block access to your computer and demand ransom to unlock your system. To better understand the risks, let’s take a look at some of the world’s biggest ransomware attacks of all time.
SamSam – Evidence to this ransomware was found in 2015. However, it was not until 2018 that it really started hitting its targets. SamSam was selective in its approach and usually targeted entities such as hospitals and educational institutions. The logic was that these organizations are most likely to pay up to get back their data. Hackers were able to gain access by exploiting weak passwords used for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). It is estimated that hackers were paid US$ 6 million for unlocking each compromised system.
REvil or Sodinokibi – This ransomware has been designed to evade the usual antivirus programs. It first made its appearance in 2019. This ransomware targeted systems in multiple locations such as USA, Europe, India, Italy, UK, Spain and Japan. The ransomware utilizes security vulnerabilities and phishing attacks to infect computer systems. Ransom paid could have been several million dollars. For example, $50 million was demanded from Taiwan-based Quanta.
NotPetya – Noticed in 2017 in Ukraine, NotPetya later spread to multiple locations across Europe. A number of industries were targeted such as banks, power companies and airports. Total losses caused by the ransomware is estimated to be around $10 million. Overall impact is likely to be more, as there may have been companies that had paid the ransom to get their systems unlocked.
TeslaCrypt – This made its appearance in 2015. Since then, different versions of the ransomware have been detected. The usual method used is to trick people into clicking a link sent via email. For every compromised system, $500 was demanded in bitcoins. It is difficult to estimate how many people actually paid the ransom.
WannaCry – This started infecting computers systems in 2017. It was a fast-spreading ransomware with 110,000 systems compromised in two days. Several of the leading companies like Honda and Renault were impacted. The mode of infection was through a phishing email. $300 was demanded as ransom for every compromised system. For those who did not pay, the ransom was increased to $600. Considering the number of infected systems, WannaCry is by far the biggest ransomware attack of all time.
Ransomware attacks often occur on computer systems that are using old, outdated software. Using pirated software also increases the risk of virus and ransomware attacks. If you want to keep your data secure, it is imperative that you use original software and keep it updated at all times. Also, avoid clicking on links or installing programs that may be suspicious and unverified. With a few simple steps, you can protect your system and data from things like ransomware.