Understanding the Difference Between Ransomware and Killware

iQuanti: Ransomware attacks are one of the biggest threats to cybersecurity in the last twenty years. They can harm companies, organizations, and individuals, but even ransomware attacks aren't the end of our worries. 

Malware attacks with the sole intent of causing harm or even death is a rising threat. This cybercrime, known as "killware," is an emerging threat that rivals the dangers and risk of common malware attacks. 

While the threat of these crimes can be terrifying, with proper ransomware protection and awareness, you can significantly decrease the risk of an attack, as well as attempt to mitigate some of the damage.

What is ransomware?

Digital theft

Ransomware is a form of cybercrime that uses malicious software to target private data in the hope that the victim pays for its return.

Financially motivated

Most ransomware cases end when a victim pays the ransom, as most attackers act purely for financial gain.

Large-scale and small-scale victims

Ransomware attackers can attack any person, corporation, or organization connected to an IT network. Although well-known attacks targeted infrastructure and corporations, attackers stand to gain something from attacking victims of any size.

What is killware?

Intent to cause harm

Unlike ransomware attacks, cybercriminals design killware attacks to inflict injury upon their victims. 

Difficult to track

Just as it's difficult to track ransomware attackers, killware attackers are immensely difficult to find once they disappear.

Large-scale targets

Killware attackers historically target larger institutions in order to cause the greatest amount of harm possible.

What are the main differences between ransomware and killware?


Ransomware attackers generally seek some form of payout. The motive for killware attacks is often unclear, but it is possible that terrorist groups or criminal organizations use them.


Killware's only objective is to harm its victims. Ransomware attackers, however, typically provide some form of care or information to their victims so they can receive their payout more quickly.


Ransomware attacks first began on a smaller scale but have since moved up to large targets such as gas pipelines and government organizations. Killware focuses mainly on disrupting infrastructure, such as hospitals or water treatment plants, in a manner that could harm human life.

How can I protect myself against ransomware and killware attacks?

Education and awareness

Understanding the tactics of cybercriminals is the first step to preventing any cyberattack, whether it's ransomware or killware. Educate yourself and others on techniques such as phishing scams that can open the door for cybercriminals to obtain your personal information.

File backup and restoration

Proper file backups can take away a ransomware attacker's leverage in a negotiation. They can also reduce any time spent in getting an IT network back online after an attack.

Work with trained experts

Consulting experts who are trained in dealing with malware attacks are often the strongest step in protecting you or your company from cyber threats.

Source: iQuanti, Inc.


Categories: IT Security

Tags: IT security, ransomware, ransomware protection