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Global threat of an increase in Ransomware attacks


What is a ransomware attack?

A ransomware attack can be defined as a type of malware attack where the attacker locks and encrypts the victim's data and important files – then usually demands a payment to unlock and decrypt the data.

Usually, ransomware attacks are carried out by trojans, disguising infected files as normal un malicious files, that the user is manipulated into using. A ransomware attack is usually targeted towards organisations as opposed to individuals. Double extorsion ransomware attacks have surged in frequency, developing another dimension of ransomware attacks. This is where attackers steal sensitive data before deploying the actual ransomware.

By stealing sensitive data, the victim is obliged to enter negotiations in order to attempt to minimize the potential overall financial and legal costs. Not only this, but there is also the potential that if the ransom doesn’t get paid the data will be locked in addition to sensitive business information getting leaked.

How do ransomware attacks work?

Ransomware attacks begin by the attacker gaining visibility into the network through phishing, stealing a password or a security issue within the software. If the perpetrator can gain access to the network, it is then a case of moving laterally within, leveraging data and being able to access important documents within the company.

Cyber criminals conduct a thorough examination of the network, with the aim of accessing the most sensitive data and further security weaknesses, putting them in a stronger ransom position to demand a financial settlement. Finally, once the information is leveraged the cybercriminal will then install the ransom on the software that will prevent the victim from accessing the files, leaving the perpetrator in a strong position.


Phishing Emails

This may be in the form of a link within the email, with the aim of getting the victim to click on this link. This will be disguised as a legitimate email that may seem relevant.


The malvertising method usually happens when malicious code is inserted into the network usually in the form of legitimate advertising sites. The attack then takes place when the victim is re directed from the legitimate site to a malicious once that is designed to gain visibility.

DriveBy Attacks

By accessing unsafe fake web pages you are always at risk of an attack. The difficulty is being able to identify the fake pages from legitimate ones.


Infecting a system through USB or network drives.

How to prevent ransomware attacks

A lot of ransomware attacks are due to the attacker taking advantage of out of date or weak security systems. Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep all applications and OS updated. The updating of the OS will help fix any network weaknesses, as well as installing the latest and most efficient security software.

The location in which applications are gathered is also an important element in preventing issues in the network. Applications from untrusted sources are a common cause of ransomware attacks. For example, they might advertise a free software update, replying on the greed of the viewer to help them gain visibility into their network.

Ignoring security warnings when downloading software is a typical mistake. You should never ignore any security warning; it is also wise to check to see if additional programs are being installed. This is a typical scenario in many network issues.

An installed antimalware security system is a good deterrent from many cyber-attacks. To ensure that a security solution is fully bullet proof it can be advised that you go for a paid service, combining with a firewall to make your security solution reliable.

Firewalls that are unused, outdated or duplicated can make it harder to manage your network. They may cause both application and security problems as well as rule confusion that can lead to unstable security.

Case study: Fortinet security fabric

The Fortinet security fabric brings end to end point security regardless of the size of the company, preventing ransomware across all potential entry points. The intelligence by which Fortinet can prevent ransomware is powered by Fortiguard labs. Fortiguard labs consist of a combination of market leading prevention and top threat intelligence to combat the most complex threats. The Fortiguard lab also prevents attacks even as they evolve, offering both short- and long-term value.


Forti mail consists of strong anti-malware and anti-spam that is combined with several high-level features like outbreak protection, content disarm, sandbox analysis and impersonation detection.


Helping to enhance web filtering capabilities of Fortinet NGFW’s, categorising web pages into sections that allows the user to allow or block these sites.


The Forti EDR security solution reduces the attack surface and protects end point devices. This is through anti malware and behavior-based detection technology


Uses two machine learning that enhance the analysis of the landscape, as well as merging Fortinet and non-Fortinet products to provide real time threat intelligence.


Two factor authentication ensures that a password is needed along with a security token to provide added security. Employees that have authorisation to access resources can do safely using a variety of different devices.