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Your Guide to Protecting Your System from Linux Ransomware (Fast!)

Posted on Jul 10, 2021 7:52 pm

Are you protected from ransomware? Hackers are getting craftier and craftier by the day. It’s important to make sure your system is safe.

Protection can be challenging because every operating system is different. Windows and Apple’s iOS may have different levels of security than other operating systems. And if you run Linux, your level of security will even be different from either of those two.

Today, we’re going to discuss Linux ransomware. So, if you run a Linux system, this article is for you. 

We’re going to dive into what Linux ransomware is, Linux ransomware protection, and go over some Linux anti-ransomware applications.

Let’s get going! We have so much to cover.

What Is Linux Ransomware?

To define Linux ransomware, we first have to define ransomware itself.

Ransomware is a computer virus from the malware family. Malware is a term used to define malicious software. But ransomware works differently than other viruses in the malware family.

The name Ransomware itself gives you an idea of what this software can do. Hackers will use the virus to infiltrate your computer and then hold your computer hostage, demanding a ransom to release your computer from the virus.

Linux ransomware is ransomware that is targeted specifically at the Linux operating system.

How Does Ransomware Work?

So, how does ransomware “infect” your computer? A hacker first has to introduce the virus software into your computer. This is usually done by visiting a website with low security. Sometimes it can be a shady website that exposes its users to malware on purpose.

Either way, you have to be exposed to the virus in some way for your computer to “catch” it, much like real-life human viruses.

Once the virus takes hold of your computer, it then encrypts either the entire operating system or select operating files within your computer’s directory.

Each ransomware program works differently, but they all achieve the same goal. Your computer is completely and utterly frozen. Basically, it’s as good as a paperweight once the ransomware takes hold.

But the hackers, since they are such nice people, offer you a way out. You pay their ransom, and voila! Your computer is clean and operational again!

Ransomware of the Future

Like all technology, ransomware continues to evolve. Many experts in the cybersecurity community make the distinction between “new” and “old” ransomware.

So, what’s the difference?

The old ransomware works by encrypting files, as we mentioned above. The hacker holds the “key” to decrypt these files on a system that they control. Once they receive their ransom, they give you access to the data you need to return your computer to normal.

The new ransomware works a little bit differently, though. New malware works into your system and extracts files that are key to your computer’s operation. This process is known as “exfiltrating” your data.

Once hackers successfully exfiltrate the important files from your computer, they then issue their ransom. But you don’t pay this ransom in exchange for a “key.” Instead, hackers nowadays request a ransom in exchange for not making this data from your computer public knowledge.

That’s right. If they don’t get their ransom, they will release your vital computer data to the public. These newer versions of ransomware can also get through older versions of anti-malware software. This makes them even more of a threat.

Does Ransomware Work On Linux?

If you’re a Linux user, you might be wondering, “Does ransomware work on Linux?” The short answer is yes.

There is no operating system that is completely 100% immune from ransomware. The key to protection is how you treat your operating system.

Like all computer software, operating systems are constantly distributing updates to their users. We’ve all been there. You flip open your laptop to do something important, and your operating system is in the middle of an update.

We get it. These updates can be inconvenient. But that’s not a good enough reason to not install them. Routinely installing and maintaining your operating system updates is your first line of defense against ransomware and other viruses.

So, yes, ransomware works on Linux. Ransomware works on any operating system. The key is to do your updates every time they’re available.

This is where Linux sets itself apart from Windows or Apple’s iOS. Many people in the virus protection community feel that Linux is the best at getting security updates out to its users. Their updates have been said to be faster and more effective than some of the other operating systems out there.

While ransomware still works on Linux, Linux ransomware has to fight through some of the best protection. And if you do all of your regularly scheduled Linux anti-ransomware updates, your computer should be fine.

Linux Ransomware Protection

It’s important to do whatever you can to keep your business safe. The damages left behind by one of these viruses can be brutal. It’s easy for companies to think, “how bad can a computer hacker hurt us?” The answer is very. They can hurt you very badly.

Companies can be left with financial damage, as well as damage to their reputation, after a cyber attack. Once files get hit with ransomware encryption, they aren’t available to be used by customers or employees.

Certain companies, with intellectual property stored on their system, may run the risk of having all of that intellectual property exposed to the entire internet community.

So, what steps can you take to protect your company’s systems from these vicious viruses?

Automatic Updates

The first step is to make sure all of your machines are installing automatic updates. Especially updates to your firewall or other security measures.

Regular Data Backup

Next, be sure to backup your data up at regular intervals. It also helps to label these backups. This way, in the case of a ransomware attack, you have the most recent backup version ready to go. You can also schedule backups of your data within your operating system.

If you do decide to schedule automatic backup of your systems, be careful. If you get hit with ransomware and then do an automatic backup, files corrupted by ransomware could overwrite good files. Then, when you went to restore your system, you would just be bringing ransomware back in.

Employee Education

Another powerful step toward virus protection is educating your employees. Human error can be one of the leading causes of introducing a virus into your system. It’s important to make sure your people are aware of cybersecurity at all times.

Browser Blocking

Along the same lines as education, another effective method to make sure human error doesn’t cause a ransomware infection is installing a browser blocker. With a browser blocker, your IT department has the ability to limit which websites your employees can and can’t go to.

Work with your IT staff to decide a list of websites that employees may be likely to “drift” to during the workday. Decide if they could cause a potential threat to your system. If you think they are dangerous, then you can block access to them from the computers in your office.

Report the Crime

When ransomware hits, you need to take the George “Dubya” policy, “We do not negotiate with terrorists.” Don’t pay the ransom.

In fact, the FBI suggests not paying the ransom. The best thing you can do is take all of the protections listed above. And if ransomware should still happen to strike, report it.

You can report ransomware incidents directly to the FBI, or you can report them to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Is Ransomware Deadly?

You and your business should start taking the threat of ransomware more seriously. To show you how serious it can be, we wanted to talk about hospitals as an example.

Hospitals can be some of the most popular targets for hackers. This is because they have a lot of money and big computer systems. The size of these systems makes it hard for them to lock them down completely with security. 

This makes it very easy for hackers to infiltrate a hospital’s system with ransomware. Some studies have been able to link ransomware attacks to an increase in heart attack deaths in particular hospitals.

In fact, one particular attack on a German hospital resulted in a woman’s death. She needed to be admitted to the hospital for urgent care. The ransomware attack prevented her from receiving her treatment in time.

Unfortunately, she lost her life as a result of the ransomware attack.

The Good Guys Win

Now you know all there is to know about Linux ransomware. Ransomware can be a scary thing, but it doesn’t have to be.

Take the steps early and often to ensure your company has the proper security protocols. Once those are in place, you’ll be able to sleep like a baby. If you do happen to still experience a ransomware attack, the damage will be minimal.

Systems can be promptly shut down and reset, and you’ll be back up and running in no time.

If you have any other questions about ransomware or cybersecurity in general, contact us via our website. We are more than happy to help.

We want to see your company protected, and we want to leave you with nothing to worry about.

We want to see the good guys win!

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