Ransomware is a type of virus that consequently hijacks the virtual infrastructure of a business. An email attachment is the typical mode of entry. Users open up an email, download an attachment, and have all their virtual data encrypted. The data is then copied to another database and held at ransom- sometimes quite literally. The person who trapped the data can hold it ransom and release it upon an actual payment.
All of this sounds like the plot for the next Mission Impossible movie. Underneath all the crazy stories rests a tender reality and an exaggerated story. What is the truth in ransomware?
Is Public Wifi a Ransomware Haven?
Can public wifi be trusted? A few high-profile cases of public wifi data breaches have sent a wave of alarm throughout the entrepreneurial business world. Entrepreneurs do not always have a lot of resources to defend their data. They also use public and free options. This could include Google drive, Gmail, Apple storage, base-user organizers, apps, and yes, even public wifi. Yet, public wifi is not the Wild West that many argue it is. Ransomware can be targeted towards anyone. It is true that some hackers will use pulic wifi data access points to take information. But, the information is usually too fragmented to do much with and ransomware can still be sent in an email without a user ever jumping on a public network.
All it Takes is Opening an Email
The short answer is no. It is not likely ransomware can be passed by solely opening an email. Typically, the system being used (Gmail, Yahoo) will only display the email. What causes the ransomware to enter is the opening of an attachment or the clicking of a link. Email services traditionally just display the email. They do not force an engagement with it. The contents are shown without being opened.
All email is vulnerable email simply by existing. Have an email account long enough and a weird email will come through. Fortunately, these bad emails can be easy to spot. They may be the only thing making ransomware only a modest threat- for now.