Artificial intelligence is very important for solving many modern business challenges. One of the most important applications of AI technology is in the context of cybersecurity.
Ransomware is a significant threat in our connected world. Whether it’s at your business or on your personal devices, a hacker/attacker can cause untold damage and wreak havoc on your life with a successful ransomware attack. The battle against ransomware rages in many sectors today and its impact on our industry and the economy as a whole cannot be understated. AI technology helps in the right, so all companies should use AI-driven cybersecurity measures to protect against it.
Ransomware has the potential to adversely affect many industries, like energy, education, and health care services. It can also cause a significant impact on your home computer if you get attacked and it can happen without warning. Here’s a quick guide on how to get ahead in the ongoing battle against ransomware threats with AI.
Know Your Enemy
The key to the effective prevention of a ransomware attack comes down to knowing and understanding the enemy as it were. At its most basic level, ransomware is simply a type of malware that encrypts your files and data. Then, they’ll demand a fee to release the encryption code. Essentially, they’re holding your data for ransom, hence the name of this particular threat. Once the attacker receives payment, they’re supposed to release the encryption key to their victims. Unfortunately, this does not happen 100% of the time. What makes ransomware unpredictable is that paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee the attacker will follow through on letting you decrypt your files. That’s one reason the FBI discourages paying the ransom. Paying ransoms also emboldens attackers to continue their schemes. When an infection occurs, the ransomware might spread to your network to shared drives, servers, computers, and other systems. In some cases, ransomware attackers will sell the data on the dark web if you don’t pay (and sometimes they’ll do it anyway if you do pay). Ransomware likes to target documents, spreadsheets, images, and just about anything else with a filename that appears important. There are four kinds of ransomware in common use today: symmetric encryption, asymmetric encryption (both client and server side), and hybrid encryption. But it doesn’t stop there, as ransomware is constantly evolving and seeking new targets.
The good news is that AI technology can help you better understand the types of hackers that use ransomware. You can use AI tools to analyze the profiles of various hackers that have used it in the past. More importantly, AI cybersecurity tools can be trained to recognize ransomware threats and protect against them.
Become Familiar with Ransomware Statistics
So, how significant of a threat can ransomware actually be? Between May 6 and May 12, 2021, the Colonial Pipeline was drastically impacted by a major ransomware attack, effectively disrupting the fuel supply chain. Ransomware threats have increased exponentially since 2018 and businesses fall victim to an attack approximately every 14 seconds. They can hit anywhere at any time. And it just keeps growing, affecting organizations and consumers alike. That’s why it’s vital – now more than ever – to remain vigilant and know how to react in the event of a ransomware attack.
Understand How Ransomware Attacks Happen
There are a few keyways in which an attack happens. Many of them come down to a profound lack of basic security protocols, but most of them happen through successful phishing attempts. It could be a malicious attachment or a drive by download that unknowingly downloads the ransomware onto your system. Sometimes, ransomware will use fear tactics to get unwitting users to click on them and start the download. Here are a few messages that scammers may use to accomplish this:
- “Your computer has been infected with a virus. Click here to resolve the issue.”
- “Your computer was used to visit websites with illegal content. To unlock your computer, you must pay a $100 fine.”
- “All files on your computer have been encrypted. You must pay this ransom within 72 hours to regain access to your data.”
There are other ways to become infected with ransomware (like weak passwords allowing a hacker to infiltrate and infect your systems), so always be vigilant and make plenty of backups.
Get Maximum Security
Ransomware is so dangerous and pervasive that guarding against it requires a bit of extra power. That’s where maximum-security software can step in to take on some of the heavy lifting. Computer security experts Trend Micro’s solution to ransomware removal is one of the best available today. It’s essentially an intelligent anti-ransomware tool that comes with a much larger security package that utilizes the latest AI algorithms including antivirus, family protection, password management, and privacy protection. The industry recently recognized this tool as being extremely effective against ransomware. Of course, you should never click on a suspicious link and avoid opening unverified emails to give yourself an extra layer of protection.
AI is incredibly versatile against online security threats. It can recognize almost any cyber attack and protect against them.
With such a looming threat over our heads, how can we be proactive about guarding against it in the long term with the latest machine learning technology? Start by avoiding suspicious or spammy emails. You can use your own judgment, but it is important to use AI threat scoring technology as well. Gmail and many other email clients use machine learning to identify emails that resemble those used to conduct ransomware attacks in the past.
AI Cybersecurity Tools Are Effective – But They Are Not a Substitute for Your Own Judgment
Then, never let your guard down and invest in a good cyber security program. AI technology can do a lot to help fight against malware, but you can’t afford to be complacent and expect it to catch every possible risk. You should also keep everything completely up to date. Everything else comes down to two words: backup everything. Backups are an integral part of guarding against ransomware. (and honestly, just about anything when it comes to computing; seriously, backup your stuff often). Unfortunately, they’re not the extremely powerful secret weapons they once were, they still have tremendous value when it comes to recovering from a ransomware attack. When paired with a ransomware defense solution, backups are a crafty way to remain proactive and help reduce the strain of a ransomware attack, should it happen to you.