What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user’s or organization’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access. Ransomware is often designed to spread across a network and target database and file servers, and can thus quickly paralyze an entire organization. It is a growing threat, generating billions of dollars in payments to cybercriminals and inflicting significant damage and expenses for businesses and governmental organizations.

How Does Ransomware Work?

Ransomware uses asymmetric encryption. This is a type of cryptography that uses a pair of keys to encrypt and decrypt a file. The public-private pair of keys is uniquely generated by the attacker for the victim, with the private key to decrypt the files stored on the attacker’s server. The attacker makes the private key available to the victim only after the ransom is paid, though as seen in recent ransomware campaigns, that is not always the case. Without access to the private key, it is nearly impossible to decrypt the files that are being held for ransom.

Many variations of ransomware exist. Often ransomware (and other malware) is distributed using email spam campaigns or through targeted attacks. Malware needs an attack vector to establish its presence on an endpoint. After presence is established, the malware stays on the system until its task is accomplished.

After a successful exploit, the ransomware drops and executes a malicious binary on the infected system. This binary then searches and encrypts valuable files, such as Microsoft Word documents, images, databases, and so on.

How to Protect Against Ransomware?

To avoid ransomware and mitigate damage, Apps4Rent has implemented industry-standard protocols and procedures. Here are a few things which we cover.

  • Practice safe surfing

    Be careful where you click. Don’t respond to emails and text messages from people you don’t know, and only download applications from trusted sources. This is important since malware authors often use social engineering to try to get you to install dangerous files.

  • Data Backup

    Apps4Rent Virtual Desktop Hosting Plan includes the system state backup of the entire Virtual Desktop with a retention period of 7 days. You can review our backup policy at

  • Use of security software and keep it up to date

    Apps4Rent provides Virtual Desktop with Windows Server 2019 which has robust Windows Defender Antivirus. We have system-defined policies that keep the virus definitions up to date without any human intervention.

  • Controlled folder access

    Apps4Rent provides Virtual Desktop with Windows Server 2019 which has a built-in mechanism to protect from Ransomware. Controlled folder access helps protect your valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware. Controlled folder access protects your data by checking apps against a list of known, trusted apps. Typically, commonly used folders, such as those used for documents, pictures, downloads, and so on, are included in the list of controlled folders.

    Controlled folder access works with a list of trusted apps. If an app is included in the list of trusted software, it works as expected. If not, the app is prevented from making any changes to files that are inside protected folders.

    Apps are added to the list based upon their prevalence and reputation. Apps that are highly prevalent throughout your organization and that have never displayed any behavior deemed malicious are considered trustworthy. Those apps are added to the list automatically. Apps can also be added manually to the trusted list.

    In a ransomware attack, your files can get encrypted and held hostage. With controlled folder access in place, a notification appears on the computer where an app attempted to make changes to a file in a protected folder.

What Else Can We Do to Prevent Ransomware?

Apart from the above default configuration, Apps4Rent provides several add-on services to secure your Virtual Desktop.

  • Multifactor Authentication

    Apps4Rent provides MFA as an add-on service. So whenever you try to access Virtual Desktop, it will prompt for second Factor Authentication.

  • Extended Backup

    By default system-state backup of the entire Virtual Desktop with a retention period of 7 days is included in the Plan. We can further extend the retention period based on your organization or business requirement with a small fee.

  • File and Folder Backup to Microsoft Azure

    We can backup your frequently access files/folder to Microsoft Azure. This type of backup is known as offsite backup and very helpful in Disaster Recovery Scenarios.

  • Customize Control Folder Access

    You can contact Apps4Rent support to further customize Control Folder Access to make it more compatible based on applications that you use.

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