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Ransomware: protect yourself or pay

Cyren offers ransomware protection from cyber-attacks through powerful cloud-based email security services.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a cyber attack that encrypts your files until you pay. This type of attack is malware that employs encryption – holding a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organization’s data is first encrypted. This way, they cannot access their confidential files, databases, or applications. After this, a ransom is demanded so that the cybercriminal will provide access. Ransomware is typically designed to spread across networks – targeting database and file servers. It can thus quickly paralyze entire organizations. Ransomware is a growing threat, but it still generates billions of dollars in payments to cybercriminals each year – inflicting significant damage to businesses and government organizations.

What are the stages of a ransomware attack?


Ransomware such as CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, and Locky targets your business with cyber attacks that leverage both email and the web to fool your employees and penetrate your defenses.


These attacks encrypt all the files on a victim’s computer and connected network drives.


Once infected, you can either pay the ransom to regain access to your files, or give up all your precious data

How does ransomware work?


You download malware from a spam email or a malicious URL.


The malware downloads a ransomware executable to your computer.


The ransomware encrypts your files.


You are given a ransomware notice with a deadline.


You are required to pay with Bitcoin.


The attacker provides a decryption key.

Ransomware can encrypt your files in less than 60 seconds. Decrypting the files without the key is virtually impossible.

The evolving ransomware threat and how to protect yourself

New families and variants of ransomware are emerging all the time. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from these kinds of phishing attacks:

  • Backup all of your data
  • Secure any of your backups
  • Use security software and keep systems up to date
  • Practice safe internet surfing
  • Only utilize secure networks
  • Stay informed on current ransomware threats
  • Implement security awareness programs
  • Deploy a post-delivery email detection and remediation solution

Ransomware By the Billions…

  • Ransomware increased by an estimated 2300% in 2016 and by an additional 250% in 2017.
  • During the initial Locky outbreak, Cyren observed up to 37 BILLION ransomware-infected emails being distributed in one day.

Ransomware made easy: Roll your own in minutes

Found on the dark web’s TOR network, “Satan” is a ransomware creation service that provides a complete, one-stop ransomware package for any would-be criminal. “Ransomware-as-a-service” packages significantly lower the barrier for entering the ransomware “business,” allowing even the not-so-technically-inclined to configure their own ransomware payload.

For a small fee, the aspiring criminal only needs to register, log in, and follow simple configuration options (like “How many days until the payment period expires?”) to create a new variant of the Satan virus. Once the virus is created, the criminal downloads it and begins distribution.