ProtectIQ can help shield you from ransomware.
Ever since the global WannaCry incident in 2017 — ransomware, a type of malicious software that takes over your computer and prevents you from accessing files until you pay a ransom, has been one of the most talked-about security topics in the country. Ransomware is a popular attack choice because people continue to pay to free-up their data. As long as hackers keep getting rewarded for their efforts, ransomware will continue to be a go-to strategy, just ask the more than 70 state and local governments that were hit by ransomware in the U.S. in 2019. Stopping it isn’t easy, but it starts by knowing what to look for.
As many as 722 ransomware attacks were observed during the fourth quarter of 2021, with LockBit 2.0, Conti, PYSA, Hive, and Grief emerging as the most prevalent strains, according to new research published by Intel 471. The attacks mark an increase of 110 and 129 attacks from the third and second quarters of 2021, respectively. In all, 34 different ransomware variants were detected during the three-month period between October and December 2021. Some of the most impacted sectors during this time were consumer and industrial products, manufacturing, professional services and consulting, real estate, life sciences and health care, media and telecommunications, energy, resources and agriculture, public sector, financial services, and nonprofit entities. Attacks impacting the consumer and industrial products sector rose by 22.2% from the third quarter of 2021, making it the most-impacted sector during the fourth quarter the researchers said.
The most common way ransomware enters networks is through email. Often, scammers will include malicious links or attachments in emails that look harmless. To help avoid this trap, please observe the following email best practices:
- Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip or other compressed or executable file types.
- Do not provide sensitive personal information, like usernames and passwords, over email.
- Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names.
- Inspect URLs carefully to make sure they’re legitimate and not imposter sites.
- Do not try to open any shared document that you’re not expecting to receive.
- Be especially cautious when opening attachments or clicking links if you receive an email containing a warning banner indicating that it originated from an external source.
If your computer is infected with ransomware, you will typically be locked out of all programs and a “ransom screen” will appear. In the very unfortunate event that you click a link or attachment that you suspect is malware or ransomware, please notify your local IT resource immediately. Luckily, ProtectIQ is equipped to help ward off ransomware attacks on your home Wi-Fi network.
Cumberland Connect subscribers can add a secret weapon to their cybersecurity arsenal: ProtectIQ Network Security. With ProtectIQ™, you can have an extra layer of network-level security that helps protect all devices connected to your network. It leverages a large cloud database of known virus and ransomware threats. By looking for the specific signatures of these threats in real-time, ProtectIQ can terminate the transfer of data before a malicious payload is delivered to any vulnerable devices in the network. As new threats are emerging daily, the threat database is continuously updated to offer protection against the latest threats.
ProtectIQ is a network-level security application, included in the Peace of Mind Package, that works quietly in the background and proactively helps keep malicious websites, viruses, and intrusion away from your home 24/7/365. Learn more about ProtectIQ and the other great benefits of enrolling in the Peace of Mind Package by clicking here.
We want you to have an awesome experience online — and that means keeping your personal information safe and protected! We hope that spreading awareness and sharing these safety tips helps you stay safe online — and be sure to check out our blog to read more about common online scams to watch out for.
*ProtectIQ is not a replacement for traditional antivirus software, but rather, works together with your antivirus software by ensuring that Internet-connected devices like video cameras, Smart TVs, home automation systems, video doorbells, or any other “smart” devices in your home are monitored for web threats and intrusions. While ProtectIQ adds an extra layer of security to your Wi-Fi network, ProtectIQ is not a substitute for antivirus software, and our team recommends keeping anti-virus software as an add-on to ProtectIQ as it can help clean up any systems that are infected.