Ransomware is prominent and is known to be the most disruptive kind of malware in existence. One ransomware attack can cause damages of millions of dollars and may need a long time to recover before the victim can start using the infected devices again.
Let us now have a very good look at ransomware and how it can be countered.
Ransomware evolves a lot and is instrumental in blocking access to files or devices until victims pay the attackers a certain amount of money as ransom. A lot of ransomware utilizes encryption making data unusable, and this allows attackers to demand money in exchange for the decryption key.
If, God forbid, the victim ignores such a demand, the attacker deletes the key and hence makes all data useless, unusable, and not worth one bit.
Ransomware is known to infect an individual computer or a mobile device. Yet it can also target a whole network. Ransomware usually has monetary motives but some attacks either paralyze the target or completely sabotage it. The consequences of ransomware are dangerous, and usually lead to the following:
• An extended downtime of services.
• Business and customer data is lost and damaged.
• Legal ramifications due to a data breach taking place.
• A company’s infrastructure suffers long-term damages.
• Loss of reputation that may not be easily recoverable and is further impeded by paying damages.
• The recovery process is lengthy and expensive i.e. it can take weeks, months, and even years to restore networks back to the normal state.
In ransomware, the requests for ransom range from a small amount of money, say USD$ 400 to amounts going up to millions. Nowadays, payments are demanded in cryptocurrency, and it allows crooks to remain anonymous even after receiving the money.
Hackers often utilize ransomware for targeting numerous kinds of small and medium-sized businesses, large companies, public sector organizations as well as individual users anywhere. Such kind of malware is a threat to all operating systems present, especially Windows, macOS, and Linux.
No business or corporation is safe unless and until the right software and tactics of preventing ransomware from happening are implemented. Such is a key rule of a top-notch cybersecurity strategy being implemented at a lot of places.
What is the incumbent state of Ransomware?
According to experts from a DDoS protection service provider company, ransomware continues to evolve each day because cyber criminals are working daily to create new tactics. Their tactics are aimed at exploiting advancements in cloud computing, augmented reality, virtual reality, edge computing, and virtualization.
Here are some of the most notable trends currently evolving in the landscape of ransomware:
• Creating monumental pressure on MSPs: Criminals are targeting managed service providers (MSPs) in larger numbers. Breaching one of them creates the chance to infect clients and allows attackers to run after multiple targets with an individual breach.
• Improved defense mechanisms: Each company present is doing its level best to stay steps ahead of hackers. For this purpose, they’ve deployed new strategies and tactics. Thanks to bait files, proper behavior analysis, and improved fact findings, companies can predict attacks instead of responding to them reactively.
• Companies offering work-from-home facilities are targeted: Hackers continue to hunt remote working teams. Their prime targets are employees working by utilizing their personal computers and devices.
• Hackers focus on industries that are in a bad shape: Industries that are still reeling from the pandemic are targets of hackers (as robust companies have good defense systems that not only root the hackers out but even lock them up too). Healthcare and education facilities are vulnerable as hackers understand the value of their data and also that they aren’t well protected.
• More RaaS is available than before: It is unfortunate yet true that Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is now available. It is a subscription-based service allowing attackers to utilize third-party tools for conducting ransomware attacks. Toolmakers obtain a certain percentage of each successful breach whereas clients are focusing completely on spreading malware.
• The worst kind of ransomware present?: In 2021, the most prominent ones present were Conti, Ravil (formerly Sodinokibi), Babuk, Avvadon and Netwalker. Whereas, the most common attack vendors are phishing emails, RDP exploits, and software weaknesses.