Your IT team or the cybersecurity service you hire can work to decrypt the files. However, it’s not always a hundred percent guaranteed since your files can become corrupted.
Knowing how ransomware encryption happens can clarify and help understand the importance of prevention and applying cybersecurity best practices to your business.
What is encryption
Since the beginning, encryption is a secure method to share information when it has to go through a public and non-secure way, such as the public internet. So, while your data travels from one point to another, it’s encrypted to protect its information.
Important: DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM. Even though they are promising the decryptor, it does not always happen and you might pay the cybercriminals and still not get your data.
Types of ransomware encryption methods
Hackers rarely use symmetric encryption since, even though it is faster, it’s more vulnerable as well. And cyberattacks are evolving and becoming incredibly complex.
This is a simple way to encrypt data. Both the sender and the receiver use the letter in the same fixed number of positions, called “key”. The key is kept secret, and only the sender and receiver have it.
Symmetric encryption has two main ways to work, block ciphers and stream ciphers.
- Block ciphers encrypt the data byte-sized blocks using the same key. An example of a block cipher is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001.
- Stream ciphers encrypt each digit of the plaintext at a time using a pseudo-random key stream. So, each bit of the data has a different key. Salsa20 and ChaCha20 algorithms use stream cipher encryption.
To make things even more complicated for the victims, cybercriminals are developing more complex malware using a combination of symmetric and asymmetric encryption.
Common encryption algorithms
Here are six of the most common encryption algorithms:
- AES. The Advanced Encryption Standard is a secure and trusted encryption algorithm used by the U.S. government. This is considered a strong encryption that can protect data from attacks. However, recent ransomware are getting more sophisticated, making cybersecurity providers take more proactive actions than just encryption.
- Triple DES. The Triple Data Encryption Algorithm uses symmetric encryption. This is a slow encryption and decryption method, yet it’s used by several financial organizations to keep their data safe.
- Blowfish. This is a symmetric block cipher. Blowfish has a reputation for speed and flexibility, and it’s unbreakable. It is neither patented nor licensed, which means it’s a free public encryption software open to any user. Many e-commerce sites rely on Blowfish to keep payment details and passwords secure.
- Twofish. This is also a symmetric block cipher, being an advanced version of Blowfish. Twofish is also license-free and has more security level than Blowfish.
- FPE. Format Preserving Encryption is a new encryption algorithm. It encrypts the data keeping its structure, so your file remains the same after decryption.
- RSA. If you’re looking for a way to encrypt your files to add extra protection to them, the Rivest–Shamir–Adleman encryption algorithm should be at the top of your list. It is an asymmetric encryption algorithm and is considered the best algorithm for encryption. However, keep in mind that ransomware attacks have been increasingly more complex and so it’s important to constantly update ransomware prevention strategies.
How ransomware encryption works
After gaining access to your network through a vulnerability (check ways cyber attacks happen), threatened actors (hackers) will add their payloads to the compromised computer. Then it will remain hidden on the system until triggered.
Once activated, it will use its own ransomware encryption algorithm, usually an asymmetric one. Ransomware encryption is fast and the malware does more than just encrypt data.
Make sure to contact a cybersecurity service to make sure your network has no vulnerabilities and that your data is secured. Contact the Proven Data team to create the best cybersecurity plan for your business.
Also, keep regular backups so you won’t need the decryption key in case of a ransomware attack.