What’s the difference between malware, ransomware, and viruses?
Both viruses and ransomware are types of malware, and some ransomware can also be viruses.
What is malware?
Malware is any type of malicious software.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that demands monetary payment in exchange for restoring access to the system or data.
What is a virus?
A computer virus is a type of malware that “infects” computers or systems by inserting its own code into other programs, thus corrupting them. Some types of ransomware are viruses, but not all viruses are ransomware.
How does malware spread?
Malware can spread in a number of ways.
One of the most common methods are phishing attacks, or fraudulent communications that closely resemble reputable sources.
Phishing attacks often target large organizations via emails that appear to come from high-level positions, such as the CEO, and often contain malicious links camouflaged as legitimate links. For example, a phishing attack may ask employees to purchase gift cards on behalf of the CEO.
Users can also come across malicious links on websites that appear to be legitimate and harmless—for example, a malicious link could disguise itself as a software update.
Less-common ransomware attacks can be spread with brute force attacks, in which cybercriminals guess a user’s password correctly by trial-and-error, using programs that can make hundreds of guesses in a single second. Simple passwords are easier for their programs to figure out, whereas personalized, complicated passwords can guard well against brute force cyberattacks.
How can I prevent ransomware attacks?
The best way to try to prevent ransomware attacks is to have the right cybersecurity services and protocols in place, although it’s important to note that preventing ransomware doesn’t lie with a single solution, entity, or idea. Organizations must fight back together, using every tool at our disposal, from technology and partnerships to intelligence sharing and policy, to stand strong against a determined set of adversaries and create a long-term approach to mitigating ransomware risk.
Mimecast allows you to manage your data safely and efficiently while also involving and empowering everyone in your organization with the right strategies to help prevent ransomware attacks.
With tools that automatically detect, filter, and quarantine suspicious threats, your first line of cyber defense is automated.
With security awareness training, everyone in your organization can be aware of how to detect and respond to cyber threats.
Cloud-based storage systems are making it harder for cybercriminals to access your data while making it easier for your organization to access, manage, and backup your information.
See how Mimecast can help protect your organization by getting a customized plan and quote.