The Evolving Landscape of Ransomware Attacks
Elena ThomasElena Thomas

The Evolving Landscape of Ransomware Attacks

2023 – What is new in the world of Ransomware

By Elena Thomas, Digital Marketing Manager, SafeAeon Inc.

Ransomware has been making headlines since 2021, and it continues to do so. 1.7 million ransomware attacks are happening every day. It is a kind of malware attack that encodes the target’s data and then inhibits them from having access until they successfully make a ransom payment. Many people think the virus has locked their computer, but it is actually the ransomware that has locked all their files. These attackers are changing their tactics from the primary extortion technique and focusing on data theft to have more leads over the firms that depend on the backups.

The new advancements, such as law execution restrictions on ransomware, international consents, changes in government norms, and the impending regulation of crypto, will force the opponents to overcome these challenges and benefit from the new opportunities. Here are the 6 changes that can prove to be vital for cybersecurity leaders in defending the new exploits.

What is the target for ransomware holders?

As the name ransomware suggests they are after ransom. They will block your data in your own server and prevent it from being used. This halts business and businesses lose critical time as well as billions of dollars’ worth of business. Hence the question of ransomware and its significance is discussed in detail.

  1. Extortion and data kidnapping

Firms operating on data mostly find it crucial to have deliveries on time. This is also the most potential area wherein attacks are mostly planned. These are situations wherein even a 1-hour delay in uplink can cause financial disruptions of billions. To cope with this, some businesses found solutions wherein deployment of a payload was never necessary.

Examples of such attacks can be found online with attacks of LAPSU on Uber, Microsoft, Rockstar Games, and Nvidia. As more and more people find options to gain profits from these situations, cybersecurity leaders need to be more and more prepared to face upcoming challenges.

  1. Ransomwares sell your data to the highest bidder.

Stealing or withholding data is the norm of the day for ransomware holders. While it may seem like stolen data is only valuable to its rightful owner, given the kind of data held for ransom, it may be of great value to its adversaries.

A single breach can be catastrophic, with the data landing in the hands of cybercriminals, who can then sell it to more dangerous criminals.

  1. Cloud is the new target.

More organizations are loading their documents into the cloud. This makes it easier for invaders to plan their outbreaks well-organized. One small miscalculation and misconfiguration can lead to a group of ransomwares getting a foothold on data.

One statistic by the Google Cybersecurity team found that cryptocurrency mining is the reason behind 86% of compromised cloud instances.

  1. No platform is safe.

Cybersecurity leaders have the idea that no attack path should be overlooked when there are odds that any breach can be shattering. Here come the uncommon platforms that can pose a higher risk to your firm as the ransomware attackers recognize the worth of business devices which don’t have backups.

  1. AI may fail to detect such attacks.

Currently, even the opponents are focusing on time and money-saving mechanization. The ransomware attackers use a scaling technique to increase their income by automating tasks and restricting human faults.

It’s important to know that the ransomware attackers who perform high amounts of breaches, such as Cerber, are using the blockchain to perform their attacks more efficiently. The teams must fight hard by coupling AI solutions to react to the attacks sooner.

  1. Zero Day vulnerabilities

There are various ways for creative rivals to breach the victim’s network. The user credentials, which are generally stolen or bought from the online markets, are the main routes; however, the software is also vulnerable to this kind of exploit. Professional ransomware attackers are now evolving using zero-day susceptibilities for their malware practices. The LockBit ransomware group has raised a reward of 50,000 dollars for flaws in their encryption system.

Most common types of ransomware

  • Lockers

It is the type of ransomware that fully locks your system so your data is completely inaccessible. On the lock screen, the ransom demand is presented along with the timer to increase the urgency and force the victim to act accordingly.

  • Crypto ransomware

Crypto ransomware or encryptors are the most damaging variant of ransomware. It encrypts the files in a system, making the whole content inaccessible.

  • Ransomware as a service

It is done by a professional hacker anonymously. He handles all phases of the attack, from the circulation of ransomware to the assortment of cash.

Real-life examples of ransomware

Caesar Entertainment company and MGM Resorts both have been the victim of ransomware. However, the Caesars attack happened before the MGM resort attack, which locked their whole system, and the guests had to wait for hours to check in to the hotel.

If we see the reports of the World Economic Forum, the cyberattacks were happening globally up to 156% in the second quarter if we compare it to the first quarter of 2023. Last year, the revenue of both companies was above 10 billion dollars, and both were targeted by ALPHV or black cat and Scattered Spider. Both these gangs used social engineering to gain access to the IT systems of the firms. The ALPHV states that they infiltrated the MGM resort system after identifying a tech employee of this company on LinkedIn and then giving a call to customer support. In contrast, the Scattered Spider tricked an employee of Caesars at a third-party dealer. The ransom attackers demanded 30 million dollars from Caesars.

How do I safeguard myself from ransomware?

  • Malspam

To achieve access, some ransomware attackers use spam to send emails with malicious attachments to many people.

  • Malvertising

It is a popular infection method in which they use online advertising for distributing malware. While using the web, even if you are using legitimate websites, you are sometimes directed to criminal servers without tapping on the ad.

  • Social engineering

The ransomware people use social engineering to trick people into opening their attachments or clicking on links that might look legitimate. For example, they act like the FBI for scaring the users into paying money to unlock their files.

How can I get rid of ransomware?

When it comes to ransomware, prevention is way better than cure. There is no guarantee that the attackers will unencrypt the data even if you pay the ransom. So, it’s important to be prepared before you get in contact with ransomware. These are the main steps to take.

  • Keep security software installed on your device always
  • Always have a backup of your important data
  • Use free decryptors for retrieving some of your encrypted files.

Wrapping Up

At last, it’s evident that the cybersecurity field is not at all free from the ransomware threat. It is expected to cost the targets $265 billion on a yearly basis by the year 2031. The professional ransomware groups will always target firms, important infrastructures, and hospitals. However, we can be prepared and take preventive actions by knowing the ransomware trends and evolutions. There are also various platforms that detect the malware and respond to help in defending against ransomware threats.

About the Author

The Evolving Landscape of Ransomware AttacksElena Thomas is the Digital Marketing Manager at SafeAeon, a leading cybersecurity company, where she combines her passion for digital marketing with her unwavering dedication to enhancing online security. With a career spanning over a decade in the cybersecurity realm, Elena has emerged as a prominent figure in the industry. Her expertise lies in crafting innovative digital strategies that empower individuals and organizations to safeguard their digital assets.

Beyond her professional life, Elena is a true cybersecurity enthusiast. She devotes her spare time to educating the public about the ever-evolving cyber threats and how to stay protected in the digital age. Elena’s commitment to a safer digital world shines through in her informative and engaging writing, making her a sought-after contributor to blogs and publications in the cybersecurity space. When she’s not immersed in the world of cybersecurity, Elena enjoys outdoor adventures and exploring new cuisines.

Elena can be reached via email at [email protected] and at our company website http://www.safeaeon.com/ .

December 29, 2023

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