For many website owners, failing to properly encrypt their pages has led to a new kind of assault from hackers, called "ransomware," a combination of malware and ransoming. Assailants are hacking websites, only to lock them so that their owners cannot make important changes. Web security firm High-Tech Bridge has noticed a sharp increase in this kind of digital theft.
Hackers are able to accomplish this malice by circumventing encryption systems. By breaking through this security barrier, the culprits can treat the site as if they were in charge of it. When they do get in control, it's to change security keys in order to make it impossible for the website's rightful owner to gain access. This can leave site managers unable to access important information or do any coding.
Ilia Kolochenko, chief executive of High-Tech Bridge, spoke to the trend: "We are probably facing a new emerging threat for websites that may outshine defacements and DDoS attacks. RansomWeb attacks may cause irreparable damage, they are very easy to cause and pretty difficult to prevent."
When a hacker takes this level of control over a site, it can be terrible for business owners. Losing days worth of customers is especially damaging to ecommerce sites that depend on digital customers as their primary revenue stream.
These ransom operations can be clandestine. One victim of this hacking trend had their web security compromised for months before they were aware of hackers. They only found this out after they had uploaded sensitive data to their web page. Upon uploading it, the hackers seized the opportunity to remove a web app from the site to prevent its use and hold the page hostage until they were paid a ransom. Hackers are now turning to their skill to profit instead of political statement.
Hosting web apps requires constant patches and other alterations to web pages that make hacking sites in this manner no simple task. The only way to detect the presence of these hackers is to monitor code and web databases for these apps on a constant basis. Even then, the constant alterations made to those codes and databases obfuscates any present security risk.
Marsel Nizamutdinov, High-Tech Bridge chief research officer spoke to the magnitude of the issue: "There are tens of millions of vulnerable web applications with critical data. Hackers will definitely not miss such a great opportunity to make money exploiting negligent website administrators."
While this approach is a new phenomenon, using digital information for the sake of blackmail is nothing new. Cyber attackers have been using email servers to retrieve sensitive information that can be used for their financial gain for years.
The popularity of cloud storage systems has increased the risk of these threats. With so much information being transferred from on-premise to third party serves, more data is in circulation and vulnerable to cyber attacks such as these. Security analysts have forecast this trend but are still perplexed as to how to effectively identify and pursue perpetrators.
Finding a secure web hosting service is essential to assure that your website is not vulnerable to digital ransoming. MC Services provides SSL encryption technology, and technology consulting, to customers that contract the company to host their sites. E-Commerce enterprises in particular should purse this security option to ensure that customer credit card data and other important information does not fall into the wrong hands.