Mcafee internet security - Crack Key For U

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Ransomware is defined as vicious malware that locks users out of their devices or blocks access to files until a sum of money or ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks cause downtime, data loss, possible intellectual property theft, and in certain industries an attack is considered a data breach. It typically gets installed on a user’s workstation (PC or Mac) using a social engineering attack where the user gets tricked in clicking on a phishing link or opening an attachment. Once the malware is on the machine, it starts to encrypt all data files it can find on the machine itself and on any network shares the PC has access to. Next, when a user wants to access one of these files they are blocked, and the system admin who gets alerted by the user finds two files in the directory that indicate the files are taken ransom, and how to pay the ransom to decrypt the files. New strains and variants come and go as new cyber mafias muscle into the "business". Techniques the cybercriminals are using are constantly evolving to get past traditional defenses. Some major strains are Wanna Cry, Gand Crab, Phobos and Cerber. Once files are encrypted, the only way to get them back is to restore a backup or pay the ransom. However, cybercriminals are now often corrupting backups before the victims know what hit them. Storage Magazine reports that over 34% of companies do not test their backups and of those tested 77% found that tape backups failed to restore. According to Microsoft, 42% of attempted recoveries from tape backups in the past year have failed. In 2021, a Ransomware Infection is a Data Breach The emergence of new strains has slowed down, but ransomware has gone nuclear and is getting much more sophisticated. In the early days, hackers mostly targeted consumers, and it would encrypt immediately upon executing. Later on, ransomware gangs realized they would make a lot more money targeting businesses. At first they would spread like a worm through organizations, collecting credentials and encrypting files along the way. Threat actors are now a lot more intelligent in their approach. Once they've gotten in, the malware 'dials home' so that the hacker can do a full analysis on which data is most valuable to their victim, how much they can realistically ask for, and what can they encrypt that will get them a payday sooner. Most of the ransomware gangs are now exfiltrating your most valuable data and threaten to expose it on publicly available websites as an additional extortion method. alone, a single cybersecurity insurance consortium said they are paying $1M per day in ransomware payouts to these criminal gangs. Some of these criminals make you pay twice, once for the decryption key, and again to delete the data they have stolen. That figure doesn't include recovery and downtime costs, which can far exceed the cost of the ransom. By now, there are tens of thousands of ransomware victims, including school districts, police departments, and entire cities. It is important to understand that it is not just large organizations that are targeted, small and medium organizations are also at risk. Cyber criminals constantly use social engineering and update their ransomware themes to stay current. Some themes include the FBI variant, the Internal Revenue Service, and even sadly, now COVID-19 pandemic-themed ransomware. In addition to updating themes, cyber criminals are also developing creative new ways to spread the ransomware. These include offering Ransomware-as-a-Service (Raa S) strains such as “Dot” or “Philadelphia”, where they offer your files back for free if you infect two other organizations. There are even marketing videos on You Tube for some ransomware strains. The first ever ransomware virus was created in 1989 by Harvard-trained evolutionary biologist Joseph L. It was called the AIDS Trojan, also known as the PC Cyborg. Popp sent 20,000 infected diskettes labeled “AIDS Information – Introductory Diskettes” to attendees of the World Health Organization’s international AIDS conference in Stockholm. The disks contained malicious code that hid file directories, locked file names and demanded victims send $189 to a PO Box in Panama if they wanted their data back. The AIDS Trojan was “generation one” ransomware malware and relatively easy to overcome. The Trojan used simple symmetric cryptography and tools were soon available to decrypt the file names. But the AIDS Trojan set the scene for what was to come. In November 1991, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin deemed Joseph L. Popp unfit to stand trial due to increasingly strange behavior, and the case was thrown out. Yung, warned that a new ransomware would eventually use asymmetric cryptography. The first form of ransomware used symmetric cryptography that could easily be decrypted, which meant it didn’t pose a serious threat and didn't cause trouble. This would mean its natural file-locking capabilities could be used for massive destruction. The first contemporary ransomware programs began to show up, using asymmetric encryption (RSA). Symmetric keys did the encrypting, but those keys were protected with RSA so you would need private key to be able to get data back. 17 years later, another strain was released but this time it was much more invasive and difficult to remove than its predecessor. In 2006, the Archiveus Trojan was released, the first ever ransomware virus to use RSA encryption. The Archiveus Trojan encrypted everything in the My Documents directory and required victims to purchase items from an online pharmacy to receive the 30-digit password. GPcode, Krotten and Cryzip were just a few names of new strains which spread via an email attachment purporting to be a job application, used a 660-bit RSA public key that was very difficult to crack at the time. At the same time GP Code and it’s many variants were infecting victims, other types of ransomware circulated that did not involve encryption, but simply locked out users. When Bitcoin emerged in 2008, it was a game changer for ransomware. The decentralized cryptocurrency provided a new, mostly anonymous system for transferring money – making it the perfect way for cybercriminals to extort their victims. The widespread adoption of Bitcoin enabled threat actors to carry out much larger ransomware attacks. The first large scale ransomware outbreak, and ransomware moves into the big time due to the use of anonymous payment services, which made it much easier for authors to collect money from their victims. There were about 30,000 new samples detected in each of the first two quarters of 2011. In 2012, Fabian Wosar encountered ransomware for the first time while helping victims get their encrypted files back. He quickly became obsessed with creating free decryption tools that would help other ransomware victims to get their files back. A few years later, computer repair technician Michael Gillespie encountered ransomware while helping a customer who had been hit with Tesla Crypt. Gillespie then began creating decryptors, learning everything he could about ransomware. Even with the ongoing efforts of Wosar, Gillespie, the No More Ransom project and many others fighting cybercrime, ransomware continued to terrorize victims across the globe. Schools, universities, hospitals, police departments, government agencies and everyday citizens – no one was safe. The cybercrime ecosystem comes of age with Citadel, a toolkit for distributing malware and managing botnets that first surfaced in January 2012. Citadel makes it simple to produce ransomware and infect systems wholesale with pay-per-install programs allowing cybercriminals to pay a minimal fee to install their ransomware viruses on computers that are already infected by other malware. Due to the introduction of Citadel, total infections surpassed 100,000 in the first quarter of 2012. Cyber criminals begin buying crime kits like Lyposit—malware that pretends to come from a local law enforcement agency based on the computer’s regional settings, and instructs victims to use payment services in a specific country—for just a share of the profit instead of for a fixed amount. Citadel and Lyposit lead to the Reveton worm, an attempt to extort money in the form of a fraudulent criminal fine. Reveton first showed up in European countries in early 2012. The exact “crime” and “law enforcement agency” are tailored to the user’s location. The user would be locked out of the infected computer and the screen be taken over by a notice informing the user of their "crime" and instructing them that to unlock their computer they must pay the appropriate fine using a service such as Ukash, Paysafe or Money Pak. Urausy Police Ransomware Trojans are some of the most recent entries in these attacks and are responsible for Police Ransomware scams that have spread throughout North and South America since April of 2012. A version is released targeting OSX users that runs in Safari and demands a $300 fine. This strain does not lock the computer or encrypt the files, but just opens a large number of iframes (browser windows) that the user would have to close. A version purporting to be from the Department of Homeland Security locked computers and demanded a $300 fine. It was discovered by Kaspersky in July 2013 and originally designed to steal payment card information from Russian bank customers. By the summer of 2014, a new version was out targeting U. users and using a fake FBI message and requiring a $200 payment with variants being used in the UK, Switzerland, India and Russia. According to Jeremy Linden, a senior security product manager for Lookout, a San Francisco-based mobile security firm, 900,000 phones were infected in the first 30 days. Crypto Locker is the first cryptographic malware spread by downloads from a compromised website and/or sent to business professionals in the form of email attachments that were made to look like customer complaints controlled through the Gameover Zeu S botnet which had been capturing online banking information since 2011. Cryptolocker uses a 2048-bit RSA key pair, uploaded to a command-and-control server, and used it to encrypt files with certain file extensions, and delete the originals. It would then threaten to delete the private key if payment was not received within three days. Payments initially could be received in the form of Bitcoins or pre-paid cash vouchers. With some versions of Crypto Locker, if the payment wasn’t received within three days, the user was given a second opportunity to pay a much higher ransom to get their files back. Ransom prices varied over time and with the particular version being used. The earliest Crypto Locker Payments could be made by Cash U, Ukash, Paysafecard, Money Pak or Bitcoin. Prices were initially set at $100, €100, £100, two Bitcoins or other figures for various currencies. The going ransom was 2 Bitcoins or about $460, if they missed the original ransom deadline they could pay 10 Bitcoins ($2300) to use a service that connected to the command and control servers. After paying for that service, the first 1024 bytes of an encrypted file would be uploaded to the server and the server would then search for the associated private key. Four Bitcoin accounts associated with Crypto Locker found that 41,928 Bitcoins had been moved through those four accounts between October 15 and December 18. Given the then current price of $661, that would represent more than $27 million in payments received, not counting all the other payment methods. - Crypto Locker 2.0 – Despite the similar name, Crypto Locker 2.0 was written using C# while the original was in C so it was likely done by a different programming team. Among other differences, 2.0 would only accept Bitcoins, and it would encrypt image, music and video files which the original skipped. And, while it claimed to use RSA-4096, it actually used RSA-1024. However, the infection methods were the same and the screen image very close to the original. Unlike Crypto Locker and Crypto Defense which only targets specific file extensions, Cryptor Bit corrupts the first 212 or 1024 bytes of any data file it finds. It also seems to be able to bypass Group Policy settings put in place to defend against this type of infection. The cyber gang uses social engineering to get the end-user to install the ransomware using such devices as a rogue antivirus product. Then, once the files are encrypted, the user is asked to install the Tor Browser, enter their address and follow the instructions to make the ransom payment – up to $500 in Bitcoin. The software also installs cryptocoin mining software that uses the victim’s computer to mine digital coins such as Bitcoin and deposit them in the malware developer’s digital wallet. It used Tor and Bitcoin for anonymity and 2048-bit encryption. However, because it used Windows’ built-in encryption APIs, the private key was stored in plain text on the infected computer. Despite this flaw, the hackers still managed to earn at least $34,000 in the first month, according to Symantec. The cyber criminals behind Crypto Defense release an improved version called Crypto Wall. While largely similar to the earlier edition, Crypto Wall doesn’t store the encryption key where the user can get to it. In addition, while Crypto Defense required the user to open an infected attachment, Crypto Wall uses a Java vulnerability. Malicious advertisements on domains belonging to Disney, Facebook, The Guardian newspaper and many others led people to sites that were Crypto Wall infected and encrypted their drives. According to an August 27 report from Dell Secure Works Counter Threat Unit (CTU): “CTU researchers consider Crypto Wall to be the largest and most destructive ransomware threat on the Internet as of this publication, and they expect this threat to continue growing.” More than 600,000 systems were infected between mid-March and August 24, with 5.25 billion files being encrypted. 1,683 victims (0.27%) paid a total $1,101,900 in ransom. Nearly 2/3 paid $500, but the amounts ranged from $200 to $10,000. Since Android requires permission to install any software, it is unknown how many people actually installed it after download. started seeing a lock screen on their i Phones and i Pads saying that it had been locked by “Oleg Pliss” and requiring payment of $50 to $100 to unlock. Users were required to pay $100 – $300 to remove it. Department of Justice also issued an indictment against Evgeniy Bogachev who operated the botnet from his base on the Black Sea. It is unknown how many people were affected, but in June the Russian police arrested two people responsible and reported how they operated. - A multi-national team composed of government agencies managed to disable the Gameover Zeu S Botnet. This didn’t involve installing any malware, but was simply a straight up con using people’s naiveté and features built into i OS. First people were scammed into signing up for a fake video service that required entering their Apple ID. Once they had the Apple ID, the hackers would create i Cloud accounts using those ID’s and use the Find My Phone feature, which includes the ability to lock a stolen phone, to lock the owners out of their own devices. - The original Gameover Zeu S/Crypto Locker network resurfaced no longer requiring payment using a Money Pak key in the GUI, but instead users must install Tor or another layered encryption browser to pay them securely and directly. This allows malware authors to skip money mules and improve their bottom line. Cryptoblocker – July 2014 Trend Micro reported this new strain that doesn’t encrypt files that are larger than 100MB and will skip anything in the C:\Windows, C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86) folders. On July 23, Kaspersky reported that Koler had been taken down, but didn’t say by whom. - Symantec reports crypto-style ransomware has seen a 700 percent-plus increase year-over-year. Unlike the others which targeted end-user devices, this one was designed for Synology network attached storage devices. And unlike most encryption ransomware, Syno Locker encrypts the files one by one. Payment was 0.6 Bitcoins and the user has to go to an address on the Tor network to unlock the files. This was discovered midsummer 2014 by Fedor Sinitisyn, a security researcher for Kaspersky. Early versions only had an English language GUI, but then Russian was added. The first infections were mainly in Russia, so the developers were likely from an eastern European country, not Russia, because the Russian security services quickly arrest and shut down any Russians hacking others in their own country. - Torrent Locker – According to i Sight Partners, Torrent Locker “uses components of Crypto Lockerand Crypto Wall but with completely different code from these other two ransomware families.” It spreads through spam and uses the Rijndael algorithm for file encryption rather than RSA-2048. In short, you can now go to this TOR website "for criminals by criminals", roll your own ransomware for free, and the site takes a 20% kickback of every Bitcoin ransom payment. Ransom is paid by purchasing Bitcoins from specific Australian Bitcoin websites. Also in May 2015 a new strain shows up that is called Locker and has been infecting employee's workstations but sat there silently until midnight May 25, 2015 when it woke up. Locker then started to wreak havoc in a massive way. It is surprising how fast ransom Trojans have developed. New "Breaking Bad-themed ransomware" gets spotted in the wild. A year ago every new strain was headline news, now it's on page 3. This version grabs a wide range of data files, encrypts it using a random AES key which then is encrypted using a public key. The FBI, through their Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), released an alert on June 23, 2015 that between April 2014 and June 2015, the IC3 received 992 Crypto Wall-related complaints, with victims reporting losses totaling over $18 million. Ransomware gives cybercriminals almost 1,500% return on their money. Security researcher Fedor Sinitsyn reported on the new Tesla Crypt V2.0. This family of ransomware is relatively new, it was first detected in February 2015. It's been dubbed the "curse" of computer gamers because it targets many game-related file types. An aggressive Android ransomware strain is spreading in America. Security researchers at ESET discovered the first real example of malware that is capable to reset the PIN of your phone to permanently lock you out of your own device. They called it Locker Pin, and it changes the infected device's lock screen PIN code and leaves victims with a locked mobile screen, demanding a $500 ransom. The criminal gangs that live off ransomware infections are targeting Small Medium Business (SMB) instead of consumers, a new Trend Micro Analysis shows. The reason SMB is being targeted is that they generally do not have the same defenses in place of large enterprises, but are able to afford a 500 to 700 dollar payment to get access to their files back. The Miami County Communication Center’s administrative computer network system was compromised with a Crypto Wall 3.0 infection which locked down their 911 emergency center. They paid a 700 dollar Bitcoin ransom to unlock their files. A new strain called Low Level04 spreads using remote desktop and terminal services attacks. It encrypts data using RSA-2048 encryption and the ransom is double from what is the normal $500, demanding four Bitcoin. Specifically nasty is how it gets installed: brute force attacks on machines that have Remote Desktop or Terminal Services installed and have weak passwords. The nation’s top law enforcement agency is warning companies that they may not be able to get their data back from cyber criminals who use Cryptolocker, Cryptowall and other malware without paying a ransom. “The ransomware is that good,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s CYBER and Counterintelligence Program in its Boston office. “To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.” Staggering Crypto Wall Damage: 325 Million Dollars. A brand new report from Cyber Threat Alliance showed the damage caused by a single criminal Eastern European cyber mafia. The CTA is an industry group with big-name members like Intel, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet and Symantec and was created last year to warn about emerging cyber threats. Crypto Wall v4.0 released and displays a redesigned ransom note, new filenames, and now encrypts a file's name along with its data. In summary, the new v4.0 release now encrypts file names to make it more difficult to determine important files, and has a new HTML ransom note that is even more arrogant than the last one. It also gets delivered with the Nuclear Exploit Kit, which causes drive-by infections without the user having to click a link or open an attachment (sic). First Javascript-only Ransomware-as-a-Service Discovered, Cybercrime has piggybacked on the extremely successful Saa S model and several strains of Ransomware-as-a-Service (Raa S) like TOX, Fakben and Radamant have appeared in 2015. However, a new strain called Ransom32 has a twist: it was fully developed in Java Script, HTML and CSS which potentially allows for multi-platform infections after repackaging for Linux and Mac OS X. Using Java Script brings us one step closer to the "write-once-infect-all" threat, which is something to be aware of. A stupid and damaging new strain called 7ev3n encrypts your data and demands 13 bitcoins to decrypt your files. A 13 bitcoin [almost $5,000] ransom demand is the largest we have seen to date for this type of infection, but that is only just one of the problems with 7ev3n. In addition to the large ransom demand, the 7ev3n crypto-ransom malware also does a great job trashing the Windows system that it was installed on. Ransomware criminals infect thousands with a weird Word Press hack. An unexpectedly large number of Word Press websites have been mysteriously compromised and are delivering Tesla Crypt to unwitting end-users. It was only a matter of time, but some miscreant finally did it. There is a new strain somewhat amateurishly called "Locky", but this is professional grade malware. The major headache is that this flavor starts out with a Microsoft Word attachment which has malicious macros in it, making it hard to filter out. Over 400,000 workstations were infected in just a few hours, data from Palo Alto Networks shows Med Star receives a massive ransomware demand. A Baltimore Sun reporter has seen a copy of the cybercriminal's demands. "The deal is this: Send 3 bitcoins — $1,250 at current exchange rates — for the digital key to unlock a single infected computer, or 45 bitcoins — about $18,500 — for keys to all of them."News came out about a new strain that does not encrypt files but makes the whole hard disk inaccessible. As if encrypting files and holding them hostage is not enough, cybercriminals who create and spread crypto-ransomware are now resorting to causing blue screen of death (BSo D) and putting their ransom notes at system startup—as in, even before the operating system loads. It's happening in the UK today, and you can expect it in America tomorrow [correction- it's already happening today]. The bad guys in Eastern Europe are often using the U. as their beta test area, and when a scam has been debugged, they go wide in the U. So here is what's happening: victims get a phishing email that claims they owe a lot of money, and it has their correct street address in the email. The phishing emails tell recipients that they owe money to British businesses and charities when they do not. April 2016 - Hello mass spear phishing, meet ransomware! Ransomware is now one of the greatest threats on the internet. Also, a new strain called Crypto Host was discovered, which claims that it encrypts your data and then demands a ransom of .33 bitcoins to get your files back (~140 USD at the current exchange rate) . These cybercrims took a shortcut though, your files are not encrypted but copied into a password protected RAR archive . April 2016 - Crypto Worms: Cisco's Talos Labs researchers had a look into the future and described how ransomware would evolve. They created a sophisticated framework for next-gen ransomware that will scare the pants off you. Also, a new strain called Jigsaw starts deleting files if you do not pay the ransom. April 2016 - Ransomware On Pace To Be A 2016 $1 Billion Dollar Business. CNN Money reports about new estimates from the FBI show that the costs from so-called ransomware have reached an all-time high. Cyber-criminals collected $209 million in the first three months of 2016 by extorting businesses and institutions to unlock computer servers. At that rate, ransomware is on pace to be a $1 billion a year crime this year. Late April 2016 - Scary New Crypt XXX Ransomware Also Steals Your Bitcoins. Now here's a new hybrid nasty that does a multitude of nefarious things. A few months ago the 800-pound Dridex cyber gang moved into ransomware with Locky, and now their competitor Reveton follows suit and tries to muscle into the ransomware racket with an even worse criminal malware multitool. At the moment Crypt XXX spreads through the Angler Exploit Kit which infects the machine with the Bedep Trojan, which in its turn drops information stealers on the machine, and now ads professional grade encryption adding a .crypt extension to the filename. Here is a graph created by the folks of Proofpoint which illustrates the growth of new strains in Q1, 2016: Here is a blog post that looks at the first 4 months of 2016 and describes an explosion of new strains. May 2016 - Petya comes loaded with a double-barrel ransomware attack. If the initial overwriting the master boot record does not work, they now have an installer that offers Petya and a backup "conventional" file-encrypting strain called Mischa. Proof Point Q1-16 threat report confirms that Ransomware and CEO Fraud dominate in 2016. A new Version 4 of DMA Locker comes out with weapons-grade encryption algorithms, and infects machines through drive-by downloads from compromised websites. In a surprising end to Tesla Crypt, the developers shut down their ransomware and released the master decryption key. June 2016 - Crypt XXX becomes Ultra Crypter and targets data stored on unmapped network shares along with local HDD volumes, removable drives, and mapped network repositories. The Jigsaw strain morphs into new branding and now uses an Anonymous skin - asks for a very high $5,000 ransom. The RAA ransomware goes after Russian victims, which is rare considering that most cyber mafia are based there. ) locks files by archiving them, is a Locky spinoff, and gets spread by email attachments. The hybrid Satana strain both encrypts files and replaces the Master Boot Record (MBR) as Petya/Misha does. Everyone and their cybercrime brother has jumped on the bandwagon. Edu Crypt demonstrates what happens when employees open infected attachments. August 2016 - Hitler ransomware continues the recent trend of less skilled cybercriminals simply deleting files hoping to make a quick buck. The wildly popular Pokemon Go app unsurprisingly has a ransomware that impersonates it. The developer added a backdoor Windows account, spreading the executable to other drives, and creating network shares. A new report by Check Point researchers showed that Cerber's Ransomware-as-a-Service (Raa S) affiliate program is a success with more than 160 participants at current count, and almost $200K profit with only 0.3% victims paying ransom. Voicemail notifications have become a popular phishing email in at least two campaigns. Hackers are able to target a wider array of people than billing notifications which don’t apply to all users, for example. Cry is a sophisticated strain that steals and hosts personal information gathered from social networks, locates the victim on Google Maps using wireless SSID’s and deletes Shadow Volume Copies among other nasty features. Mamba, like Petya, continues the trend of full-disk encryption ransomware but unlike Petya encrypts all data on the machine’s hard drive. Fantom ransomware uses file and process names to set the size of the ransom demand, so if the campaign is targeting home users for example the ransom would be lower than if the target was a large enterprise. Ransomware officially became extortion under California law, however we see this as an ‘awareness’ thing than anything else. Virlock is a two year old strain that spreads like a virus in the cloud. A massive Cerber campaign uses malicious Macros to infect its victims. Another version of Cerber stops SQL so it can encrypt the database. Cry Py, a strain written in Python, also had Paypal phishing pages on the server the phishing emails were coming from so expect more to come from this one. As of now, ID Ransomware can detect over 200 different strains! One new campaign starts with a ‘credit card suspended’ phishing email with an attached malicious . JS file, another attacks victims via Facebook messenger. A browser locker variant called Ransoc infects victims via malvertising. Karma ransomware pretends to be a Windows optimization program and is distributed via a Pay-per-Install Network. Osiris is a new Locky strain delivering surprise surprise, Excel docs containing macros that download and install Locky. Goldeneye encrypts the workstation twice: the files and the Master File Table (MFT). The phishing email contains both an Excel file that pulls the malware and a PDF used as a social engineering tool. If a user follows instructions on both documents, you potentially get to pay ransom TWICE. The Sandworm cybercrime gang has gotten their hands on Kill Disk malware and added a ransomware feature. They run highly targeted campaigns, asking for 222 Bitcoin (around $200,000) from their victims. January 2017 - Spora ransomware gives its victims options to just pay for file decryption, or they can pay more for immunity against future attacks. This is a sophisticated strain that collects victim data into a . KEY file, which then must be sent to the attackers who will set the ransom amount based on that data and provide decryption once paid. A new version of Spora uses an innovative way to spread itself via USB sticks. February 2017 - A new app claims to have login data for leaked Netflix accounts, allowing users to get free access. What you actually get is fake account credentials, while your data is being encrypted in the background. Dyn A-Crypt ransomware not only encrypts data, it also attempts to steal information and even deletes files without backing them up. CRYSIS is back, mostly targeting US healthcare orgs. using brute force attacks via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). March 2017 - Cryptolocker has been pretty quiet the past 6 months but it’s back, jumping from a handful of infections per day to over 400 per day. The original Petya has been hijacked by cybercriminals making it their own. Dubbed Pet Wrap, this new variant features a special module that patches the original Petya ransomware 'on the fly.’ The IT director for a private school reported that after getting hit with Samas ransomware, their entire Veeam backup repositories were wiped out as a result. The FBI said they had never seen ransomware delete backups. This is a prime example of why offline backups are so important! Cerber has taken over the ransomware market in 2017, its features (robust encryption, offline encryption, etc) and its Raa S (Ransomware-as-a-Service) business model make it very easy for newbie criminals to run their own custom campaigns. Most recently, Cerber gained the ability to evade detection by cybersecurity tools which use machine learning to identify threats. Locky has reappeared on the scene via phishing emails with a PDF that has a Word file hidden within, which executes a macro script when opened by the user. This scenario allows the phishing email to bypass sandboxes. May 2017 - Fatboy Raas (ransomware-as-a-service) uses the Big Mac index from The Economist in determining how much ransom to ask for. The Wana Cry ransomware worm took the world by storm in mid-May, starting with an attack on vulnerable SMB services railways, telcos, universities, the UK's NHS, and so on. In all the strain infected over 300,000 computers in over 150 countries, making the criminals $90,000 which is really not that much compared to the amount of infections. Wana Cry really caused the world to take notice of ransomware. Shadow Brokers, the hackers who leaked the NSA SMB zero-day exploit that powered Wana Cry, published a manifesto announcing a subscription offer where they will release more zero-day bugs and exploits for various desktop and mobile platforms, stolen from the NSA. Coming in June 2017, it is set up like a 'wine of month' club with subscribers getting a members only data dump each month. June 2017 - Microsoft proudly announced that no known ransomware could penetrate the newest Win 10 Creators Update. What’s that saying about things being too good to be true? ZDNet hired a pro hacker who proved that wrong in about 3 hours. South Korean web hosting provider Nayana was hit with Erebus ransomware which infected 153 Linux servers. Nayana paid the largest ransom to date of $1 million. Some of their data was permanently deleted in the process, prompting the hosting company to offer free hosting for life and refunds for affected customers. So aside from the massive million dollar payment, they had additional great financial loss and damage to their reputation. July 2017 - F-Secure labs uncovered chat sessions in which a ransomware support agent claimed they were hired by a corporation for targeted operations. Later analysis/metadata research confirmed that this tactic was used with another variant, and the follow-up attack targeted IP lawyers that was seemingly aimed at disrupting their business operations. August 2017 - lets the Dridex gang steal from three different Bitcoin wallet apps as well as steals passwords from popular web browsers. Cerber is among the most rapidly evolving ransomware families, the criminals are constantly trying new ways to monetize ransomware. A key ransomware money laundering operation BTC-e taken down and owner, Russian national Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece in a multi-national law enforcement effort. Vinnik was assessed $12 million for his role in the violations. Fin CEN, the US department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network assessed BTC-e with a $110 million civil money penalty for willfully violating U. is back with a new Diablo6 variant spread through phishing emails with infected attachments. It’s too soon to tell just how widespread this new variant will be. A new version of an old IRS/FBI phishing scheme asks its recipients to download a questionnaire. demands nudes instead of Bitcoin in an attempt to blackmail victims multiple times. However, scammers are likely bluffing about having compromising information. This led us to believe that these are simply fake extortion emails. We ended up calling it ‘faketortion’.”Two new massive Locky campaigns were reported this month; one pushing a new variant that encrypts files with the .ykcol extension and demanding 0.5 Bitcoin (~$1800) , the other sneaks malicious code into an attachment that looks like a printer output to its victims. In this release, encrypted data is recoverable after buying the key, meaning Bad Rabbit attack is not as destructive as Not Petya. They fixed a lot of bugs in the file encryption process. strain was updated and spread via the Necurs botnet. In a massive 12.5 million campaign targeting domains, The current campaign prevents users from using third-party recovery tools, deletes Shadow Volume Copies and other default Windows recovery features. due to its current high profile and high value, which mean small fluctuations dramatically alter the cost, and worries that the anonymity it offers isn't all it's cracked up to be. While not yet a widespread payment method for distributors of ransomware, there are a number of examples of ransomware demanding their fee for unlocking be paid in Monero, related attacks have become more popular than ransomware for many attackers. They don't need to actually engage the victim to make a lot of money, but we don’t think ransomware will be going away any time soon. has been discovered, which seems to have been designed to ‘show off the skills’ of the developer who created it, by being as difficult to deal with as possible. It terminates numerous security programs, disables Windows Defender, turning off the firewall, encrypting your files, trying to spread through USB drives, making it so you can’t run a variety of programs, and overwriting the master boot record of the infected computer with a boot loader. The good news is A massive survey of nearly 1,200 IT security practitioners and decision makers across 17 countries reveals that half the people who fell victim to ransomware infections and chose to pay in 2017 were able to recover their files. This is why backups are so important, there is never a guarantee your files will be recovered even if you pay the ransom. When asked what’s inhibiting them from defending their respective organizations against cyberthreats, “low security awareness among employees” remains one of the top 3 reasons. A new ransomware-as-a-service dubbed Gand Crab showed up mid-month. This is the most prominent ransomware of 2018, infecting approximately 50,000 computers, most of them in Europe, in less than a month asking each victim for ransoms between $400 and $700,000 in DASH cryptocurrency. Yaniv Balmas, a security researcher at Check Point compares Gand Crab to the notorious Cerber family, and the expert also added that Gand Crab authors are adopting a full fledged agile software development approach, the first time in ransomware history. More technical details at the Security Affairs blog. Zenis ransomware discovered by the Malware Hunter Team not only not encrypts your files, but also purposely deletes your backups. The latest version utilizes AES encryption to encrypt the files, unfortunately at this time there is no way to decrypt them. If you are infected with Zenis, DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM. Instead you can receive help or discuss this ransomware in Bleeping Computer's dedicated Zenis Ransomware help & support topicand had a bitcoin demand of $51,000 to unlock the entire system. The infection affected several internal and customer-facing applications, such as the online systems that residents used to pay city bills or access court documents. A total of $2.6 million has been set aside for emergency recovery efforts, and that doesn't include the ransom. This strain is believed to have the ability to get access to systems and wait weeks before an attack, making it easier to strike twice. That's exactly what happened when the Colorado DOT was infected with Sam Sam at the beginning of the month. AVCrypt ransomware, discovered by Bleeping Computer, tries to uninstall your existing security software (such as AV) before it encrypts files. However, it looks like no encryption key is sent to a remote server so it's unclear whether this is true ransomware or a wiper. A new report from Sentinel One found that ransomware is now something that more than half (56%) of companies have faced in the past two months. That's up from 48% who said the same thing in the firm's 2017 report. April 2018 - Hackers are working hard at making ransomware less predictable in order to avoid detection. Changes to the encryption process, the code itself, and even delivery methods are just a few of the 11 ways ransomware is evolving. Verizon's 2018 Data Breach Incident Report lists ransomware as the most common type of malware carried by phishing attacks. Healthcare has always been targeted as an industry by hackers trying to get their hands on valuable PII. The HHS' Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center released a report on Sam Sam, a strain that has targeted the healthcare and government sectors since 2016. A few weeks later, the Center for Orthopaedic Specialists (COS) in California was hit and had to notify 85,000 patients. This is just another indicator that a ransomware infection is seen as a HIPAA data breach and needs to be reported. This strain has three new ways to avoid detection: It decrypts the payload only at run-time, making it nearly impossible to identify and analyze. Sam Sam, the ransomware strain that crippled several cities and school districts in the U. It’s loader, payload, and logs are wiped, leaving very few traces behind for any forensics or scanning tools. It requires a password to be entered by the threat actor to run in the first place. THowever, before the attack was fully contained, 7,000 systems and 1,900 servers were impacted. Of those 1,900 servers, 350 were production servers. If you're in health care Sam Sam is definitely something to watch out for and it can have devastating consequences. A new literature review from Marshall University describes the problem as well as prevention methods in great detail. If you have any kind of security strategy around malware and ransomware, you need to be adding cryptojacking/cryptomining to the list and act accordingly; you’ll be seeing a lot more of this attack vector. October 2018 - An announcement from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) identified a number of cyber actors and attacks likely carried out by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service. November 2018 - New variant Common Ransom asks for RDP access to the victim’s computer in order to decrypt files. This is the latest attempt to extend the ransomware attack beyond the simple act of extortion. It is likely that the group is more interested in the credentials than ransom payments. Four new strains of Dharma ransomware were discovered that evade detection by all but one antivirus solutions on the market. Researchers observed a malicious executable dropped through a . NET file and another associated HTML Application (HTA) file. There is no decryption available, even if ransom is paid an encryption key is generated locally so it's a fake key. There should be no question by now that Mac and i OS devices are targets for attacks. New data from Datto, a backup provider, shows that MSPs have seen a 500% increase in ransomware on both Mac OS and i OS devices over last year. Most organizations have a group of users that use Macs, usually the creative types. So, it’s official – all users, regardless of operating system, are potential targets of ransomware. December 2018 - New sextortion attacks take a dark turn and infect people with Gand Crab ransomware. The email claims cybercriminals have a video of you watching an inappropriate website, and that you can download that video and see it for yourself. A server outage at a major newspaper publishing company prevented the distribution of many leading U. newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun. It looks like this was a targeted ransomware attack using the specialized Ryuk ransomware family. January 2019 - A new malware attack was detected in the wild that combines two known pieces of malware: the Vidar data harvesting malware followed by Gand Crab ransomware. Running an infostealer before deploying the ransomware ensures some money for the adversary even if the victim does not pay the ransom. Crypto Mix ransomware has resurfaced, according to a at Ransomware Incident Response vendor Cove Ware. With each infection, the message goes beyond just asking for bitcoin, but instead attempts to compel victims to pay the ransom with the claim that the money will go to a fictitious charity. Ransomware is using a variety of methods to reduce or nullify the effectiveness of data backups such as attacking shared network drives, Windows shadow copies, and any files that have backup file extensions. Some ransomware variants can even sync with the victim’s cloud service and encrypt files stored there. some new variants are also making it harder for organizations to know which backup to restore from North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein released a report on Thursday that highlights the impact of data breaches on the state in 2018, and paired the report with a bipartisan bill to strengthen breach notifications to include attacks. A new strain dubbed Anatova was discovered in a private peer-to-peer (p2p) network and targets consumers by using the icon of a game or application to trick the user into downloading it. Anatova is packed with functionality that is also difficult to analyze, a telling sign this was created by experienced bad actors. It has , cybercriminals are just getting started with this impactful form of malicious attack. Average numbers of paid ransom and downtime resulting from an attack backups compromised are all up over the previous quarter. A new report produced by the Cyber Risk Management (Cy Ri M) project led by Nanyang Technological University – models a ransomware attack scenario on a global scale where hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide are infected and offers a look into what the aftermath would look like. The estimated damages worldwide range from $85-193 billion, with global cyber insurance losses ranging from $10-27 billion. Torrent sites are banning Cracks Now, a popular source of torrent uploads, after discovering that the uploader of cracks and keygens was distributing Gand Crab ransomware. Cracks Now was labeled as “trusted” before a number of users started noticing bad things happening to their computers. March 2019- A new strain called Locker Goga infects aluminum producer Norsk Hydro, and Hexion and Momentive chemical plants, effectively shutting them down for days and go on manual operation, causing them to buy hundreds of new computers. according to a new report from Sophos, the malware has undergone major recent improvements that allow it to perform a wide range of attack tasks. It uses RDP-based brute force attacks to gain an initial foothold. The malware contains several payload executables including some legitimate admin tools – each used to either infect the initial endpoint, or connect to remote machines via RDP and spread within the network. Their code even includes efforts to disable AV software on endpoints. Once infected, the victim is required to contact the attacker, submit some encrypted files (presumably to prove they are, indeed, the victim) and then are provided with the bitcoin ransom amount equivalent to $2500. The attack on backups to decrease an organization's ability to recover instead of paying the ransom mixed with the ransom increase shows that cybercriminals know they have victims painted into a corner. Jackson County in Georgia paid $400,000 after a Ryuk ransomware attack forced most of their systems offline. The infection forced most of the local government's IT systems offline, with the exception of its website and 911 emergency system. April 2019 - vx Crypter ransomware is possibly the first strain to delete duplicate files. Discovered by Lawrence Abrams at Bleeping Computer, this strain was keeping tracking of the SHA256 hashes of each file it encrypted. As the ransomware encrypted other files, if it encountered the same SHA256 hash, it would delete the file instead of decrypting it. An email extortion scam threatening victims with DDo S attacks and Wanna Cry ransomware according to researchers at Avast. The scammers claim to have hacked the victim’s network and found evidence of tax evasion. They demand two bitcoins, or around $10,000, in exchange for keeping quiet about the illegal activity. If the victim doesn’t pay up, the scammer will deploy ransomware and launch DDo S attacks against their systems, in addition to notifying law enforcement about the alleged tax evasion. Pay Pal received a patent for ransomware detection technology. According to US patent number 10262138, issued on April 16, Pay Pal believes it can detect the early stages of a ransomware infection, and take one of two actions --to stop the encryption process, or to save a copy of the untainted original file to a remote server, before it gets encrypted, as a backup, so it can be restored later on. The City of Stratford in Ontario, Canada was hit with a ransomware attack that encrypted six physical and two virtual servers, prompting the city to pay the ransom of $71,000. They did attempt to recover their data, however the security company they worked with was only involved in forensics and couldn't recover the data. It was purpose-built to target corporate networks, and once penetrated, the attackers infect your entire network by rolling out the ransomware to all servers and workstations, using your own Windows domain controllers. Sophos have detected infections in the United States, Italy, Canada, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland. The latest data from App River shows SMBs simply aren’t prepared to respond to ransomware attacks, and will instead pay up. According to their 2019 Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey Report, three-quarters of SMBs believe a successful attack would be harmful to their business with only 36% believing they can actually long-term business losses. Rather than prepare with a strong defense and response plan, the data shows the cybercriminals have the upper hand - 55% of all SMBs said they would pay ransom to recover encrypted data or to prevent it from being shared. Of larger SMB’s with 150-250 employees, 74% are willing to pay ransom with 39% of larger SMBs saying they “definitely would pay ransom at almost any price.” Ransomware attacks skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services team, which reports a 105% increase in the number of ransomware attack notifications against clients compared to Q1 2018. Riviera Beach City in Florida was hit with an attack after an employee clicked on a phishing email, and council members ended up paying $600,000 to recover their data. The attack locked up all of the city's data, and the ransom was paid just weeks after they agreed to spend around $1 million to replace the compromised computer equipment. According to security vendor Recorded Future’s latest Review of State and Local Government Ransomware Attacks report, attacks against state and local governments rose 39% in 2018, and are finding surprising similar trends in 2019. The latest estimate of this attack tops off at just about $18 million – dwarfing the 13-bitcoin ransom demand equaling about $103,000. Security researchers have been finding that attackers use ransomware as an exit strategy to cover up more serious incidents like data breaches. Although the attacks mostly look like regular ransomware delivered via phishing emails containing either malicious links or files, their goal is to delete potential forensic breadcrumbs and hope organizations don’t investigate further after recovering from the ransomware infection. A month after Baltimore's devastating ransomware attack, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) signed an executive order aimed at strengthening the state’s cybersecurity capabilities. formally establishes the “Maryland Cyber Defense Initiative” and creates the position of state chief information security officer (SCISO), who will be charged with giving cybersecurity recommendations to the ransomware. The attack locked providers out of their system for almost two months, impacting their medical records system and appointment scheduling tool. It wasn't the first time the health center had been hit, back in April another attack left their computer systems locked for about three weeks. After the first attack, they rebuilt their systems by using offsite backups and didn't pay the ransom, the second time they weren't so lucky. Four clinics resorted to writing down all patient information and storing it in boxes, operating as walk-in clinics, and asking patients for medical history from memory for seven weeks. Officials say this attack has cost the provider upwards of $1 million. Another victim of a Ryuk ransomware attack, Lake City, Florida, paid $500,000 to decrypt over 100 years' worth of city records. IT staff disconnected their systems within 10 minutes of infection, however the malware affected almost their entire network. The county's IT Director was blamed for failing to secure the network and taking too long to recover the data, he lost his job. July 2019 - New e Ch0raix ransomware uses a brute-force credential attack to gain access to data stored in QNAP NAS devices. According to Anomali, the threat detection vendor that discovered it, e Ch0raix targets QNAP network-attached storage devices. It scans the internet for publicly accessible QNAP devices and tries to break in via a brute-force credential attack, bypassing weak login credentials. This strain encrypts specifically targeted file extensions on the NAS using AES encryption and appends an “.encrypt” extension to the encrypted files. The ransom note directs victims to pay a ransom in bitcoin via a website accessible with a Tor browser. recovery vendor, Coveware, outlines the current state of the cost, duration, and recovery rate of ransomware attacks today. According to their Q2 Ransomware Marketplace Report, the average ransom payment nearly tripled this year from $12.8k to $36.3k, t A new ransomware strain referred to as Android/Filecoder. It uses the victim's contact list to spread further using SMS messages that have malicious links. The new strain was distributed on adult content-related topics on Reddit and for a short time via the “XDA developers” forum. The hacker behind the malicious code has been posting links to a "sex simulator" app, telling users to try it out. But in reality, the links will download the ransomware to the victim's phone. When La Porte County, Indiana was hit with Ryuk they paid the $130,000 ransom to recover their impacted data. They did have backup servers, but the malware infected them as well. IT staff were able to confine the attack to only 7% of machines, however two domain controllers were impacted so network services became unavailable. August 2019 - New German Wiper ransomware doesn't encrypt files but instead it rewrites their content with zeroes, permanently destroying users' data. In light of the recent string of attacks that seem to be targeting government agencies and municipalities, a new multi-agency press release led by the U. Government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency provides guidance on how to be resilient and proactively take steps to reduce the likelihood of successful ransomware attack. The long-standing argument over whether or not victims should pay ransom to cybercriminals may have come to an end, with a resolution from the U. Conference of Mayors calling on cities to not pay up. Dark Reading reported: "Ransomware masquerading as game "cheats" is hitting Fortnite players. Fortunately, there are ways to recover without paying a ransom." Similar to phishing attacks on STEAM, gamers are being targeted. The Mega Cortex strain, first reported in May of 2019, has a new version upgrading it from a manual, targeted form of ransomware, to one that can be spread and do damage enterprise-wide. Completely automated, the latest version has proven to be ready for wide-scale attacks, according to new research from Accenture’s i Defense team. A need for manual password entry has been removed, and it’s been beefed up with an ability to kill a number of security products, and now loads and runs its’ main payload directly from memory. New ransomware increased by 118%, while the most prevalent strains were Dharma (aka Crysis), Gand Crab and Ryuk. Help Net Security has a good summary of the whole report. September 2019 - A new strain called Lilocked (or Lilu) ransomware has infected thousands of webservers and appears to target Linux-based systems only. The way the Lilocked gang breaches servers and encrypts their content is currently unknown. A thread on a Russian-speaking forum puts forward the theory that crooks might be targeting systems running outdated Exim (email) software. It also mentions that the ransomware managed to get root access to servers by unknown means. is now being delivered via a Pay Pal phishing site that offers users a 3-5% return on Pay Pal transactions if they download an official Pay Pal browser extension. The attackers use Unicode characters from different alphabets to make their URL look like Pay Pal’s legitimate domain. Users who click the download button will receive a file named “” Running this executable will infect the user’s system with the ransomware. The coordinated ransomware attacks on 23 Texas municipalities last month demonstrate the lengths cybercriminals are willing to go to in order to attain their demanded ransom (in the case of the Texas cities, $2.5 USD). This has prompted the , which highlights how CISA will work to address the ever-growing threat of cyberattack by defining its mission and a high-level framework that will be used – a framework that includes the sharing of information between state and local agencies. A similar bill has already passed in the House of Representatives in 2018, called the “DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act of 2018.” Senators said that the two pieces of legislation will now begin a reconciliation process. authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to invest in and develop “incident response teams” to help organizations battle ransomware attacks, was approved by the U. October 2019 - The FBI issued a warning that healthcare organizations, industrial companies, and the transportation sector are being targeted with ransomware. The attack methodologies continue to evolve, with cyber-criminals doing all they can to avoid detection. The FBI highlights three current attack techniques: phishing campaigns, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) vulnerabilities and exploits of software vulnerabilities. A rash of successful attacks against municipalities, state and local government, and school districts is bad for organizations and great for cybercriminals. With ransomware estimated to have a global damage cost to organizations $11.5 billion in 2019, according to analyst firm Cybersecurity Ventures, this is a problem that will continue to plague any organization that does not have ample security in place. A recent article at Alien Vault covered the results of a survey they took at this year’s Black Hat conference around ransomware and other security concerns. While there’s no ability to cross-check the raw data, it’s concerning that over two-thirds of organizations saying they’re “ready” and yet nearly one-fifth have been the victim of an attack. Respondents cited security solutions and backups as the two methods of ransomware preparation, with one-third of organizations having over twenty security solutions in place! At a high level, this sounds like organizations Datto, a leading global provider of IT solutions delivered through managed service providers (MSPs), announced its fourth annual Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report. Highlights include: 85% of MSPs reported attacks against SMBs over the last two years, only 28% of MSPs report SMBs are very concerned about ransomware, and average cost of downtime is $141,000. November 2019 - Pure Locker, a previously undetected server-encrypting malware, gives hackers an advantage as it is written in the Pure Basic programming language. Security vendors often struggle to generate reliable detection signatures for malicious software written in this language. Pure Basic is also transferable between Windows, Linux, and OS-X, meaning attackers can more easily target different published almost 700 MB worth of data and files stolen from a security staffing firm. With this escalated attack, ransomware victims now need to not only be concerned about recovering their encrypted files, but what would happen if their stolen unencrypted files were leaked to the public, and the fact that ransomware infections by now probably should be disclosed as a data breach with all related consequences. espite Chubb seeing increases in attacks, , they are still experiencing an increase in the percentage of cyber claims resulting from ransomware attacks. It’s indicative that organizations simply aren’t prepared. - The latest version of Snatch ransomware installs a Windows service Super Backup Man that is configured to run in Safe Mode. Once a forced restart is complete, and the system is in Safe Mode, those AV solutions not configured to run leave the system exposed and able to be encrypted. Researchers at Sophos also found it uses RDP as the initial attack vector, can exfiltrate, system information, monitor network traffic, install surveillance software and install remote access trojans (RATs). The payload for Snatch uses the open-source packer UPX to help obfuscate detection of its malicious code. This is very powerful and dangerous stuff here that has attack ramifications both immediately and in the future, depending on how patient the attacker is. According to Bleeping Computer: “ In a new post to a Russian malware and hacker forum shared with us by security researcher Damian, the public-facing representative of the REvil ransomware known as UNKN states that a new "division" has been created for large operations. REvil goes on to say that if a company does not pay the ransom, the ransomware actors will publicly release the stolen data or sell it to competitors. It is in their opinion that this would be more costly to the victim than paying the ransom." The Maze ransomware gang just outed 8 victims and a limited amount of selected data on a public website. According to Brian Krebs, the information released publicly so far is “ initial date of infection, several stolen Microsoft Office, text and PDF files, the total volume of files allegedly exfiltrated from victims (measured in Gigabytes), as well as the IP addresses and machine names of the servers infected by Maze. “ Criminals behind MAZE are likely hoping that by increasing psychological extortion pressure they will squeeze current victims who are still undecided to pay the ransom. school districts (comprised of 226 schools) have been hit by ransomware since late October. Municipalities continue to lead the victim list at 82, followed closely by school districts and/or educational institutions at 72, followed by 44 healthcare organizations and 18 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and/or Cloud-Based Service Providers. A report released by Armor, a global security solutions provider, noted a substantial rise in ransomware attacks against schools (and school districts) since October 2019. According to the report, 269 publicly announced ransomware victim organizations in the U. As of December 2019, ransomware is 30 years old, but few will be celebrating the occasion. Experts predict that ransomware will continue to grow and evolve, armed with tools like keyloggers, backdoors and droppers to cause further destruction. At the same time, it’s expected that ransomware will become increasingly more targeted in choosing victims, eschewing small-time marks in favor of targets with a bigger potential payoff. And as daily life becomes increasingly connected through the Io T, organizations will have to work even harder to keep ransomware out of their systems. Here are some shocking ransomware statistics just from the year 2019, from Heimdal Security. “From its initial observation, Maze used multiple methods for intrusion, including the creation of malicious look-a-like cryptocurrency sites and malspam campaigns impersonating government agencies and well-known security vendors,” states the advisory obtained by Cyber Scoop. The warning provides technical indicators to detect Maze ransomware and asks victims to give them information that could help find the hackers. The bureau requests things like bitcoin wallets used by the hackers and the complete phishing email they sent to the victim. New "leakware" attacks differ from traditional ransomware attacks by threatening to steal and publish data online unless a ransom is paid. The problem is if you don't pay, you're risking continued attacks on those whose personal data was included in the breach. If you do pay, of course there's no guarantee the attackers won't sell the data to a third party and launch their own attacks. The City of Johannesburg and the State of Virginia are two victims of these types of attacks. In the beginning, ransomware used to only look for office files. Now, according to researchers at Kaspersky, attackers are looking for ways to directly target the NAS devices that host an organization's backups. It makes sense to cybercriminals, their goal is to make an organization feel their only option is to pay the ransom. Encryption isn't the only problem when it comes to ransomware, there are many other nasty issues. Ransomware threat actors are doing more analysis, taking the time to maximize the potential damage and payoff. First, they discover which resources are organization’s crown jewels. What if suddenly encrypted would cause the most panic, pain, and operational disruption? Second, they find out how that data is backed up and what they can do to interfere with that process. They also know how many days of backup corruption they need, meaning they are getting better at encrypting backup data while it's online before it gets moved offline. Hackers are now stealing the crown jewel data and threatening to leak it unless the ransom is paid, so even if you do get it back it's still in their hands. Data-stealing ransomware has become so common that it has its own subclass known as , a foreign-currency exchange company, was hit by the REvil/Sodinokibi actors on New Year's Eve. Its network data was encrypted and their customers were unable to take orders. REVil is said to exfiltrate data before encrypting the network as an added extortion incentive for victims to either pay or have the possibility of their data going public. A resulting cascade of nasty consequences for the victims include disclosure of PII, thus triggering data breach reporting requirements and the resulting governmental and third party legal headaches, potential crashing stock prices, fines, and the consequences of disclosure of confidential or proprietary information. Phobos ransomware has been around since late 2017 and has morphed into a few strains, always targeting large organizations in hopes of getting a bigger payoff. It works to kill processes that may pose a threat, deletes Volume Shadow copies, disables Windows firewall, and prevents systems from booting into recovery mode. The real threat is on hw it's distributed as a business model. Threat actors using Phobos today are less experienced and therefore there are delays when negotiating ransom, and there is potential for issues around decryption since they themselves have no control over the malware used in attacks. Nemty ransomware creators are now extorting victims by threatening to publish data to a blog if they don't pay. While the idea of publicizing sensitive information is nothing new, the use of a blog could add credibility to their claim of being willing to post the data (prospective victims can simply navigate to it to see previous victim’s data). powered-off devices on a large compromised network to have greater success in encrypting them. In conversations with Bleeping Computer, Vitali Kremez, Head of Sentinel Labs, stated that this evolution in Ryuk's tactics allow a better reach in a compromised network from a single device and shows the Ryuk operator's skill traversing a corporate network. It's also now able to hack Active Directory and infect a larger number of machines. Ryuk Stealer, another version of this malware, uses new keywords and filetypes to automatically find an organization's most valuable data that they can extort and get their ransom. Microsoft end-of-support for Windows 7 means systems will remain unpatched, creating an opportunity for future ransomware attacks to wreak havoc. If you remember 2017's Wanna Cry, it was successful because of unpatched systems. So three things you can do to protect against this possibility are: update your OS, ensure continual updates, and educate your employees to avoid becoming victims by clicking on phishing emails. about heightened cybersecurity risks, urging banks to immediately shore up cybersecurity controls and technology safeguards against ransomware due to increased geopolitical tension. Encrypting File System (EFS) built-in encryption abilities against itself, not needing to download a payload executable that performs the encryption. potential attacks that can only be assumed to be the result of relations between the U. Safe Labs researchers tested out three major AV solutions against EFS ransomware and found all three to failed to stop an attack. The news of this evolved tactic has antivirus vendors scrambling to provide updates to stop this ransomware in its tracks. In Coveware's recently released Q4 Ransomware Marketplace Report, they found average cost of a ransom jumped from around $41K in Q3 of 2019 to just above $84K in Q4! Ransomware threat actors are targeting larger enterprise organizations in hopes of getting bigger payouts using sophisticated strains like Ryuk and Sodinokibi, while Ransomware-as-a-Service strains like Dharma, Snatch, and Netwalker are going after the small business sector. Two senators of New York state recently proposed bills that would ban government agencies and local municipalities from using public money to pay cybercriminals ransom to get their files back. The first bill, proposed by Republican NY Senator Phil Boyle, and the second bill, proposed by Democrat NY Senator David Carlucci, are currently in committee. Several industry experts stated that this is the first time state authorities have proposed a law that outright Microsoft Outlook. The repercussions are significant: In addition to holding data for ransom, attackers could lock users out of cloud-based applications, could use the newfound credentials to island hop, could provide access to Office 3656 via OAuth API access, commit CEO fraud scams, identity theft, and much, much more. both private and public sector businesses that ransomware poses a real threat to the upcoming 2020 election - from campaign fundraising to promoting stories about candidates, the possibilities are endless. And, given the heightened political tensions that exist in the U. S., potential victims are already emotionally charged enough to respond to phishing and web-based attacks. February 2020 - Having good backups in place may no longer completely save you from an attack. A new trend, exemplified by Maze ransomware, is for threat actors to exfiltrate an organization's data and use it to extort them. What this could mean for you is that your current cyber insurance may not cover you as well as you may think. Threat actors behind Sodinokibi are promising black hat hackers an opportunity to "work with" the creators of REvil ransomware under "mutually beneficial conditions” in a hacking contest with a $15,000 prize. While competitions like this aren’t entirely new, this latest one boasting a five-figure prize is big news. The danger lies in the ability to foster ingenuity, spawn creativity, and encourage the sharing of ideas to make ransomware and other forms of malware more powerful amongst cybercriminals. Doppel Paymer ransomware makes money from its victims, whether they choose to pay the ransom or not. While it's not the first strain to publicize a victim's stolen data if they don't pay, it goes a step further to work to sell the data stolen. This has turned ransomware attacks from a nuisance and an attack on operational productivity into a full-blown data breach, complete with remediation, legal, PR, etc. This extra step turns up the heat on organizations to simply pay the ransom. EKANS ransomware is a relatively new variant that focuses on wreaking havoc on industrial control systems (ICS) and businesses that rely on it. EKANS attempts to disrupt operations by killing processes, then encrypting data, effectively holding both the organization’s production that uses the art of deception to evade detection. It uses the debug API and starts the execution, then proceeds to eliminate all of its traces when completed. According to Quick Heal Security Labs “the Mailto or Netwalker performs process hollowing in This helps in evading the Anti-Virus software (AVs) to easily perform the encryption. According to data protection vendor Datto’s director of channel development, Eric Torres, who spoke recently at the Xchange 2020 conference, MSPs are under greater attack today due to their direct and unlimited access to customer networks. Their recent Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report shows that 85% of MSPs report their SMB customers experiencing ransomware attacks within the last 12 months. Information Security Media Group (ISMG) reported that a growing number of ransomware groups are now exfiltrating data from their victims before deploying the ransomware. Brett Callow, a security researcher at Emsisoft, told ISMG that ransomware operators are also using this stolen data to craft targeted attacks against the compromised organization’s customers and partners. “We've now got pretty clear evidence that Maze et al. are using exfiltrated [data] to spear phish other companies,” Callow said. “The problem is, many companies do not disclose these incidents, so their business partners and customers do not know that they should be on high alert. Bottom line: more companies need to disclose, and to disclose quickly.” Joel De Capua, a special agent in the FBI’s global operations and targeting unit recently spoke at the 2020 RSA Conference in a session entitled In this session, attendees were able to get a sense of the severity of the problem of ransomware. According to De Capua, a total of $144.35 million in ransoms were paid between January of 2013 and July 2019. The biggest “winners” in ransomware are: Ryuk – taking in $61 million, Crysis/Dharma – $24 million, Bitpaymer - $8 million, Sam Sam - $6.9 million. Since it's a legitimate Excel file type, many organizations will not block or filter it but the file type can be leveraged to download an Excel formula (command) that could abuse a system process, such as Power Shell, cmd, mshta, or any other Lo LBins (Living-off-the-Land Binaries). The researchers conclude that these files are difficult to flag since there’s nothing inherently malicious in them, so organizations need to focus on the URL. According to security vendor Blackberry Cylance, Healthcare is the number 4 industry targeted for ransomware attacks. This data is corroborated by the latest numbers from insurer Corvus, who have released their latest Security Report on the state of Healthcare cybersecurity. According to the report, ransomware has risen consistently in 2019 over 2018, with a projection for Q1 of 2020 to be literally 12 times higher than the same quarter last Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that many organizations prepare for possible impacts of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and consider alternate workplace options for their employees. The Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encouraged organizations to adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity. They also specifically noted that "Malicious cyber actors may increase phishing emails targeting teleworkers to steal their usernames and passwords."Three new ransomware families: Sodinokibi/REvil, Nemty, and Doppel Paymer are adopting the same style of “pay or we publish” tactic used by threat actors behind Maze ransomware. The first is that organizations need to recognize that this will grow as a trend and, should they be attacked with ransomware, there are very few outs in that situation. Second, ransomware as an attack now must be considered a data breach; some subset of the organization’s data Ransomware gangs have stepped up their attacks amid the pandemic to maximize their ill-gotten profits. Microsoft's Threat Protection Intelligence Team reported that almost every ransomware infection had evidence of attackers viewing and exfiltrating data. They also said there is a relatively long lag between compromise and ransomware deployment, and further, attackers often maintain control over endpoints after deploying ransomware. - New York Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, media and entertainment law firm used by A-list stars, was hit by REvil ransomware. The firms website went down and threat actors behind REvil claim to have 756 gigabytes of data including contracts and personal emails. Cyber-security company Emsisoft says the hackers have posted images online of a contract for Madonna's World Tour 2019-20 complete with signatures from an employee and concert company Live Nation. The total cost of the average ransomware attack more than doubles if the victim decides to pay the ransom, according to Sophos’s State of Ransomware 2020 report. According to the report, the average total cost of a successful ransomware attack—including downtime, technical recovery, extra hours, lost business, as well as the ransom payment—was $732,000 for victims that refused to pay the ransom. Interestingly, that number rises to $1,448,000 for organizations that do pay the ransom. This tactic appears to only apply to larger victim companies and is also dependent upon the kind of data stolen. While we’ve seen the average ransom doubling this year, this second demand for a ransom tends to run in the $100K to $2M range (remember, the organizations seeing these types of attacks are the ones the the Ako folks believe have deep pockets). This second ransom almost assures the cybercriminal some form of payment, one way or another. Data from Coveware, a company that handles ransomware incidents, shows that the average ransom price increased from $84,000 in 2019 to $111,605 in the first quarter of 2020. Ryuk and REvil continue to be responsible for this increase in average rebranded as Netwalker and are conducting interviews to identify appropriate affiliates to work with. According to the details uncovered, affiliates receive up to 70% of the ransom, giving cybercriminal organizations ample incentive to partner up with Netwalker. - Recent changes in ransomware attacks that now include data theft for the purposes of extorting the ransom or face public posting of the stolen data recategorize ransomware as a data breach instead of simply a malware infection-turned-decryptor. And it’s this change in attack tactics that brings us to the issue of data breach notification. Most ransomware attacks now involve data exfiltration so now you need to determine whether data was stolen, what was taken, and whether you need to begin the notification process. "The criminal group behind the REvil ransomware enterprise has begun auctioning off sensitive data stolen from companies hit by its malicious software. The move marks an escalation in tactics aimed at coercing victims to pay up — and publicly shaming those don’t. But it may also signal that ransomware purveyors are searching for new ways to profit from their crimes as victim businesses struggle just to keep the lights on during the unprecedented economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic." Kivu’s investigation showed that ransomware variants generally do not favor one industry over another – rather, they are likely to deploy more successfully within certain environments, which are industry agnostic. The new Pony Final ransomware demonstrates this behavior. According to Microsoft, attackers in this case put a human touch on the attack, not leveraging automation, but are patient and are looking for victims of opportunity rather than trying to hit everyone and anyone. By first compromising internet-facing web systems, attackers compromise privileged credentials and use Power Shell tools and service accounts to obtain the needed access the victim network. In most cases, the attackers focus on endpoints where the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is installed Then, according to Microsoft, attackers “stay dormant and wait for the most opportune time to deploy the [Pony Final] payload.”Researchers at Symantec have spotted a new element in recent Sodinokibi (aka REvil) ransomware campaigns, with the attackers scanning compromised networks for Po S software. It's possible that the attackers could be looking to scrape this information as means of making additional money from campaigns, either by directly using the payment information themselves to raid accounts, or to sell it on to others on underground forums. Symantec issued an urgent warning that Russian hackers had exploited the sudden change in American work habits to inject code into corporate networks with a speed and breadth not previously witnessed using Wasted Locker. The end goal of these attacks is to cripple the victim’s IT infrastructure by encrypting most of their computers and servers in order to demand a multimillion dollar ransom. At least 31 customer organizations have been attacked, meaning the total number of attacks may be much higher. The attackers had breached the networks of targeted organizations and were in the process of laying the groundwork for staging ransomware attacks. -as-a-Service make it a formidable challenge for even well-secured organizations. Some of the improvements include: RIPlace technique for avoiding detection, Encryption speed enhancements, Disabling of 3rd party backup solutions, Ability to impersonate Windows SYSTEM via process hollowing and FTP-based reporting. Trip Wire recently revealed that more than 10% of ransomware infections now involve some element of data theft. In March 2020, for instance, the Nefilim crypto-malware strain began telling its victims that it would publish their stolen data within a week unless they paid their ransom. That was about a month before the security firm learned of Ragnar Locker’s demand of 1580 bitcoin (approximately $11 million) as ransom from Energias de Portuga (EDP), a Portuguese electric utilities company from which the attackers claimed to have stolen 10TB of data. Approximately a month after that, Doppel Paymer published a new entry on its data leaks site for the City of Torrance, CA. The Securities and Exchange Commission, through its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), issued a warning to advisors and broker-dealers to “immediately” review their cybersecurity controls to prevent and respond to an increase in phishing campaigns and ransomware attacks. The alert provides “observations to assist market participants in their consideration of how to enhance cybersecurity preparedness and operational resiliency to address ransomware attacks. We have observed registrants utilizing the following measures: , the Phorpiex botnet – which first reared its ugly head back in 2018 appears to be experiencing a resurgence in interest last month. Estimated to have generated a half million dollars in revenue in 2019, Phorpiex has traditionally distributed ransomware, cryptominers, and malware to accomplish this. Phorpiex ranked second in global reach last month, affecting 2% of organizations globally, and even made their Top 10 malware families list for June. The CONTI family of ransomware has taken steps to improve the performance of encryption while using new and old methods to ensure success. CONTI uses up to 32 independent threads to simultaneously encrypt data, thereby speeding up the process. According to new research from VMware, CONTI uses the Windows Restart Manager to cleanly close applications with locked files, allowing those files to be included in the encryption process. They avoid detection by using 277 unique string encoding algorithms to obfuscate the original code and bloat the simple program into a larger application that is more difficult to identify as the ransomware. This was accomplished with assistance from the Binance cryptocurrency exchange whose “Bulletproof Exchanger” project helped authorities identify large transactions and trace them back to individuals in the real world. A new ransomware operation named Dark Side began attacking organizations earlier this month with customized attacks that have already earned them million-dollar payouts. But here is the clincher: When performing attacks, Dark Side will create a customized ransomware executable for the specific company they are attacking. Dark Side states that they only target companies that can pay the specified ransom as they do not "want to kill your business."The threat actors have also stated that they do not target the following types of organizations: The FBI has arrested a Russian citizen (27-year-old Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov) for trying to recruit an employee of Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada to plant malware inside the firm. According to the US Justice Department, Kriuchkov promised to pay as much as $1 million to the employee. The goal: to steal data from the company and then threaten to make the information public, unless a large (~$4million) ransom was paid. However, the Justice Department’s complaint suggests the employee ended up secretly working with the FBI to gather evidence against Kriuchkov, who was arrested on Saturday in Los Angeles. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is suing RI Advice Group for being hacked multiple times over a year’s time that includes 155 hours of undetected hacker activity. According to a notice filed earlier this month in Australian federal court, RI Advice Group was the victim of two remote access-turned-ransomware attacks in December 2016 and May 2017, and a third successful attack on a server containing sensitive financial information and client identification documents in December of 2017. Because RI Advice Group is a financial services firm, they are subject to the ASIC, who are suing them for failing to establish and maintain compliance measures that include security a guest blog post, the attack chain used by threat group Death Stalker seems to be intent on gathering sensitive business information rather than deploy malware, ransomware, or any other malicious action normally seen for financial gain. What makes this attack so interesting is the resourcefulness found in the details. According to the article, the Powersing attack includes some of these capabilities: , the new version of the Qbot trojan contains a number of collector modules. One is used to harvest browsing data, email records, and banking credentials. Another uses mimikatz to scrape RAM for credentials. And still another new module seen by Checkpoint, extracts specific email threads related to tax payments, job recruitment, and COVID-19 from the endpoint’s Outlook client, uploading them to the attacker's command-and-control (C2) server. shows that the first half of 2020 saw a 7x jump in the frequency of ransomware attacks when compared to the same time in 2019. We’ve also seen ransoms jump by an average of 60 percent this year, signaling that cybercriminals are keenly aware of what the havoc they’ve wreaked is worth to an infected organization. The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned multiple ransomware criminals over the last few years, most notably the Russian cybercrime syndicate aptly named Evil Corp. However, not only Eastern European hackers were sanctioned, various North Korean and Iranian actors are also on the list. In an advisory published on Oct 1st, 2020 OFAC made it clear to U. companies that paying millions of dollars of ransoms to those groups will invite hefty fines from the federal government. prosecutors charged six Russian intelligence officers who are accused of engaging in the most destructive cyber attacks of recent years. Those that run afoul of OFAC sanctions without a special dispensation or “license” from Treasury can face several legal repercussions, including fines of up to $20 million. Notable attacks include operations that knocked out Ukraine’s energy grid, exposed emails from the French president’s party and damaged systems all over the world in the extremely costly 2017 Not Petya Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report, they found that the SMB is just as much a target of opportunity as the enterprise. And in many cases, despite it being impactful to the business, SMB’s simply aren’t aware of the danger. According to the report: Unlike the traditional methods of notifying victim organizations by simply taking over a computer or providing a “readme” text file, this new method has some devilish benefits. Egregor ransomware victims have experienced print jobs being sent to every available printer that notify the reader that all computers and servers are locked, data has been stolen, and “next steps” to take to rectify the situation. - According to researchers at Atlas VPN the average ransomware payout has increased by 178% over the past year. By Q3 2020, the average payment had risen to $234,000. These numbers have steadily increased each quarter. “Firstly, employees should follow well-known cybersecurity practices, such as using 2-Factor Authentication (2-FA) whenever possible, not clicking on suspicious links, and updating their software and OS. These steps might seem like basic practices, but surprisingly, many people do not follow them. “Employers should set up employee training workshops where a security specialist shares security practices together with scenarios that could happen if these tips are not followed. Showcasing incidents that already happened in other companies could be of value to show employees how a single malicious link can cripple a company.” gangs are now cold-calling victims on their phones if they suspect that a hacked company tried to restore from their backups to avoid paying ransom demands. Ransomware groups that have been seen calling victims in the past include Sekhmet (now defunct), Maze (now defunct), Conti, and Ryuk, a spokesperson for cyber-security firm Emsisoft told ZDNet on Thursday. These phone calls are another escalation in the tactics used by ransomware gangs to put pressure on victims to pay ransom demands after they've encrypted corporate networks. Beazley, both the extortion demand amounts and total cost of ransomware payments have increased an average of 100% from 2019 to 2020. According to Beazley, a number of best practice steps exist to better protect against ransomware that include proper backups of key systems and data, email filtering and user education. January 2021 - In an article for the Saudi Gazette, Peter Mackenzie from Sophos outlines five technical indicators that typically precede a ransomware attack. Here is what you should be looking for: a network scanner, tools for disabling antivirus software, the password extraction tool Mimi Katz, patterns of suspicious behavior, and anything that looks like it could be a test attack. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fin CEN) warns financial organizations to be aware of campaigns actively targeting vaccine companies. New data from Checkpoint reveals that the growth of attacks on healthcare make it stand out against any other industry sector. Fin CEN warned of two expected types of attacks: Ransomware attacks targeting “vaccine delivery operations as well as the supply chains required to manufacture the vaccines” and phishing schemes luring victims from financial institutions and their customers with fraudulent information about COVID-19 vaccines. A data activist group known as Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDo Secrets, works to make data stolen as part of ransomware attacks available to journalists. The group has taken over a terabyte of data from organizations covering industries that include pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, finance, software, retail, real estate, and oil and gas, and posted the data to a publicly-accessible website. It’s now imperative to put as much defense in place to stop ransomware attacks from being successful in your organization! February 2021 - New data from security vendor Coveware in their Q4 2020 Quarterly Ransomware Report shows that phishing is now the prominent ransomware attack vector since RDP compromise is being prevented by potential victims. Shifts in payment amounts surprisingly favor the victim organizations. According to the report: The average ransom payment decreased 34% in Q4 of 2020 to $154,108 from $233,817 in Q3, The median payment also decreased by 55% in the same timeframe from $110,532 to $49,450 and Threats to disclose exfiltrated data stepped up in Q4, with a whopping 70% of ransomware attacks using this tactic (up from 50% in Q3). The grand total for this scheme is $1.3 billion dollars over the past half-decade for Pyongyang. Two alleged members of North Korea's military intelligence services were accused of hacking banks and companies in the U. There is now an indictment for the two alleged criminals that was unsealed by the Justice Department. Normally known for smaller attacks only taking in ransoms in the amount of hundreds of dollars, this strain of ransomware seems to have been given new life in 2020 by attackers seeing opportunity in hitting healthcare organizations during the pandemic. can now worm itself to all your Windows LAN Devices. "Through the use of scheduled tasks, the malware propagates itself - machine to machine - within the Windows domain," ANSSI (short for Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d'Information) said in a report (PDF). "Once launched, it will thus spread itself on every reachable machine on which Windows RPC accesses are possible." On March 5th, Krebs On Security broke the news that at least 30,000 organizations and hundreds of thousands globally had been hacked. The same sources who shared those figures say the victim list has grown considerably since then, with many victims compromised by multiple cybercrime groups.ecurity experts now are desperately trying to reach tens of thousands of victim organizations with a single message: Whether you have patched yet or have been hacked, backup any data stored on those servers immediately. The FBI warned of a wave of ransomware attacks against schools and other entities across the United States and the UK. PYSA ransomware, also known as Mespinoza, is capable of exfiltrating and encrypting files and data stored on users' systems. The PYSA actors are targeting higher education, K-12 schools, and seminaries, they are also among the ransomware groups that steal data and threaten to publish it if the victim refuses to pay up. As part of its Ransomware-as-a-Service, REvil is now expanding its services to aid in the extortion phase. They've launched a calling service where REvil will call the victim organizations' business partners, local media, and more to bring the attack to light and force the organization to pay up to regain its operations. Palo Alto Network’s security division, Unit42, released their most recent Ransomware Threat Report 2021, with new data showing the biggest problem with ransomware is In addition, Unit42 highlighted the additional forensics costs post-attack to help victim organizations come up with a response strategy and execution plan. The average forensics costs were $40,719 for small and mid-sized businesses and $207,875 for larger enterprises. The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released their annual report, and the number of complaints have skyrocketed in 2020. There had been almost a 70% increase in reported attacks from 2019 to 2020. Evil Corp used Wasted Locker at the time the sanctions were released, making that variant of ransomware an identifiable marker that the victim organization was doing “business” with someone on the OFAC list. operators are now offering to tip off unscrupulous stock traders before they post the names of publicly traded victim companies, the Record reports. The criminals believe this will put more pressure on the victims to pay up. Recorded Future’s Dmitry Smilyanets told the Record that this is the first time a ransomware crew has explicitly made this part of their strategy. One of the key findings that is worth mentioning based on the analysis is the use of Ransomware-as-a-Service, which hires cybercriminals to execute the attack for you at a discounted price. Cartels are also continuing to increase their ransom demands, automating their attacks, and reinvesting profits made from successful attacks to enhance their tactics. Unfortunately, it is only getting more and more easier for these ransomware gangs to infiltrate your organization. “The strategic framework is organized around four primary goals: to deter ransomware attacks through a nationally and internationally coordinated, comprehensive strategy; to disrupt the business model and reduce criminal profits; to help organizations prepare for ransomware attacks; and to respond to ransomware attacks more effectively” New data from Sophos’ The State of Ransomware 2021 report points out the bottom line piece of information you need to focus on – it’s going to cost you a ton of money if you get hit with ransomware. A few details from the report provide some insight into what you should expect if attacked: Only 8% of ransomware victims get all of their data back after paying the ransom, according to researchers at Sophos. The researchers found that, on average, victims who pay the ransom recover about 65% of their data, while 29% of respondents said they recovered less than 50% of their data. Better not to rely on a social contract with criminals. Help your people learn how to spit the phish hook before it’s set. It's all over the news that the US’s largest gasoline pipeline was shut down and restarted because of a ransomware attack. As reported by the New York Times, “One of the nation’s largest pipelines, which carries refined gasoline and jet fuel from Texas up the East Coast to New York, was forced to shut down after being hit by ransomware in a vivid demonstration of the vulnerability of energy infrastructure to cyberattacks.” Insurers of cybersecurity policies are a good indicator of whether the security posture of most organizations is sound or not. And from the look of things, some of you could use some help. Tamara Ashjian, Director of Claims at Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber & Professional Lines Group recently spoke with Insurance Business about the current state of cyber insurance claims. According to Ashjian, a few years ago, there were very few claims and most were in the $10,000 range. In 2019, claims climbed to just above the $500,000 range, and in 2020 claim payouts jumped significantly between $3 million and $5 million. This amount will likely only go up, putting additional pressure on insurers to make sure their insureds have proper security in place. Cryptocurrency and blockchain data provider Chainalysis in their Ransomware 2021: Critical Mid-year Update Report, shed some light on why ransomware-as-a-service is only growing. In 2020, the total amount paid by ransomware victims rose 311% from the previous year. The amount of ransomware funds going to these third-party “providers” has also skyrocketed in the last 4 quarters. Last week, Microsoft spotted a new attack using the year-old Java RAT, STRAAT, in the wild. Starting as a phishing attack sent under the premise of containing a list of outbound payments made by your company, this attack uses a PDF that connects to an attacker-controlled domain to download and install the STRAAT malware. This malware can collect passwords from browsers and applications, and can also capture keystrokes and run remote commands and launch Power Shell scripts on the infected endpoint. June 2021 - Sophos researchers report finding new “Epsilon Red” ransomware. The malware is written in GO, and it was delivered as the final executable payload in a hand-controlled attack against a target in the US hospitality sector. The whole Red Epsilon package performs these actions against its targets: Vulnerable Microsoft Exchange Server instances have been Epsilon Red's point of entry into victim networks. With 81% of organizations believing ransomware attacks will become more prevalent in the second half of 2021, nearly everyone is preparing for the worst to come. attorney's offices across the country said information about ransomware investigations in the field should be centrally coordinated with a recently created task force in Washington. According to ISACA’s latest survey of 1,200 IT professionals, it appears that organizations are waking up to the fact that ransomware is a much larger problem. Department of Justice is elevating investigations of ransomware attacks to a similar priority as terrorism. In IBM Security’s latest report, the X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2021, we get a glimpse into what the ransomware gangs have achieved, who’s most successful, and what tactics they’re using. 38% of organizations have not conducted any ransomware-related training for their staff, and yet, even ISACA attributes the “human factor” as one of the reasons ransomware is growing. This critical detail can provide needed insight into how to best fortify your organization’s network. According to the report: In Cyberreason’s Ransomware: The True Cost To Business report, there are a number of shocking stats that provide insight into what the operational and business aftermath of an attack looks like. According to the report: Phishing remains one of the primary initial attack vectors, demanding that organizations prevent phishing attacks by engaging users with Security Awareness Training to keep them up-to-date on current phishing attacks, scams, social engineering methods, and campaign themes. The recent Ragnar Locker ransomware attack on Taiwanese Chip manufacturer, ADATA saw 700GB of stolen data published by the ransomware gang on legitimate storage vendor, MEGA. While access to the links was short-lived (the Ragnar-owned account was quickly disabled), there was an opportunity to see what kinds of data was exfiltrated and published. According to a recent report by OODA Loop, "Mandiant claims to have detected a 422% increase in victim organizations announced by ransomware groups via their leak sites year-on-year between the first quarter of 2020 and Q1 2021." Mandiant also discovered that victims across 600 European organizations were widespread across several different types of industries. Cyber-criminals have become thoughtful about ransomware attacks; taking time to maximize your organization’s potential damage and their payoff. Protecting your network from this growing threat is more important than ever. Join Roger for this thought-provoking webinar to learn what you can do to prevent, detect, and mitigate ransomware. Is your network effective in blocking ransomware attacks? Cybercriminals are constantly coming out with new strains to evade detection. Is your network effective in blocking all of them when employees fall for social engineering attacks? Know Be4’s Ran Sim gives you a quick look at the effectiveness of your existing network protection. Ran Sim simulates 20 ransomware infection scenarios and 1 cryptomining scenario and will show you if your workstation is vulnerable. Email Vector By far the most common scenario involves an email attachment disguised as an innocuous file. Many times hackers will send a file with multiple extensions to try to hide the true type of file you are receiving. If a user receives a phishing email with an attachment or even a link to a software download, and they install or open that attachment without verifying its authenticity and the sender’s intention, this can lead directly to a ransomware infection. This is the most common way ransomware is installed on a user’s machine. Drive-by-Download Increasingly, infections happen through drive-by downloads, where visiting a compromised website with an old browser or software plug-in or an unpatched third party application can infect a machine. The compromised website runs an exploit kit (EK) which checks for known vulnerabilities. Often, a hacker will discover a bug in a piece of software that can be exploited to allow the execution of malicious code. Once discovered, these are usually quickly caught and patched by the software vendor, but there is always a period of time where the software user is vulnerable. Free Software Vector Another common way to infect a user’s machine is to offer a free version of a piece of software. This can come in many flavors such as “cracked” versions of expensive games or software, free games, game “mods”, adult content, screensavers or bogus software advertised as a way to cheat in online games or get around a website’s paywall. By preying on the user in this way, the hackers can bypass any firewall or email filter. After all, the user downloaded the file directly themselves! An example is a ransomware attack which exploited the popularity of the game Minecraft by offering a “mod” to players of Minecraft. When they installed it, the software also installed a sleeper version of ransomware that activated weeks later. One method cybercriminals will use to install malicious software on a machine is to exploit one of these unpatched vulnerabilities. Examples of exploits can range from vulnerabilities in an unpatched version of Adobe Flash, a bug in Java or an old web browser all the way to an unpatched, outdated operating system. The main event that created the fifth and current generation of cybercrime was the formation of an active underground economy, where stolen goods and illegal services are bought and sold in a ‘professional’ manner, if there is such a thing as honor among thieves. Note that because of this, cybercrime has recently been developing at a much faster rate. This has opened the ‘industry’ to relatively inexperienced criminals who can learn the trade and get to work quickly. Some examples of this specialization are:• Cybercrime has its own social networks with escrow services• Malware can be licensed and receive tech support• You can rent botnets by the hour, for your own crime spree• Pay-for-play malware infection services have appeared that quickly create botnets• A lively market for zero-day exploits (unknown software vulnerabilities) has been established The problem with this is that it provides unfortunate economies of scale. The advent of Generation Five increases malware quality, speeds up the criminal ‘supply chain’ and effectively spreads risk among these thieves, meaning it becomes much harder to apprehend the culprits, not to mention jurisdiction problems. Due to these factors, it is clear that we are in this for the long haul. We need to step up our game, just like the miscreants have done over the last 10 years. There is a website called ID Ransomware that allows you to upload your ransom note and a sample encrypted file. The tool will identify the particular strain you are dealing with and if available, download decryption tools to recover your files and/or whole network shares if your backups have failed. It's a good idea to know which type you have as there is no 'one-size-fits-all' method to get rid of ransomware. Bitcoin is an untraceable crypto-currency network that uses peer-to-peer technology to handle transactions with no central authority - that means no banks or government agencies either. All transactions are public, however the people holding these digital wallets remains completely anonymous. This makes Bitcoin very attractive to cybercriminals and is therefore the payment method most often requested to get files decrypted. We have seen certain actors demand ransom in things like Amazon and i Tunes gift cards, but the vast majority ask for Bitcoin. It is important to note that just because a person pays to unlock the computer; it doesn’t mean that the malware is gone. Once the ransom is paid, the Citadel software continues to operate and the computer can still be used to commit bank or credit card fraud. Reveton, for instance, included the Papras family of malware, which includes password stealers and which can also disable security software. If you are infected you should always report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). You will need to provide all relevant information including the e-mail with header information and Bitcoin address if available. Since most ransomware is delivered via malware found in phishing emails, users need to be trained to not click on those emails. We have seen the percentage of 'phish-prone users' decrease from an average 15.9% to 1.2% over the course of a year of using our training platform. We are so confident our method works, we are willing to bet our own money on it. Know Be4's Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training comes with a crypto-ransom guarantee. If an employee who has taken our training and received at least one phishing security test per month clicks on a link and infects their workstation, Know Be4 pays your crypto-ransom. By far the most common scenario involves an email attachment disguised as an innocuous file. Many times hackers will send a file with multiple extensions to try to hide the true type of file you are receiving. If a user receives a phishing email with an attachment or even a link to a software download, and they install or open that attachment without verifying its authenticity and the sender’s intention, this can lead directly to a ransomware infection. This is the most common way ransomware is installed on a user’s machine. Increasingly, infections happen through drive-by downloads, where visiting a compromised website with an old browser or software plug-in or an unpatched third-party application can infect a machine. The compromised website runs an exploit kit (EK) which checks for known vulnerabilities. Often, a hacker will discover a bug in a piece of software that can be exploited to allow the execution of malicious code. Once discovered, these are usually quickly caught and patched by the software vendor, but there is always a period of time where the software user is vulnerable. Another common way to infect a user’s machine is to offer a free version of a piece of software. This can come in many flavors such as “cracked” versions of expensive games or software, free games, game “mods”, adult content, screensavers or bogus software advertised as a way to cheat in online games or get around a website’s paywall. By preying on the user in this way, the hackers can bypass any firewall or email filter. After all, the user downloaded the file directly themselves! An example is a ransomware attack which exploited the popularity of the game Minecraft by offering a “mod” to players of Minecraft. When they installed it, the software also installed a sleeper version of ransomware that activated weeks later. One method cyber criminals will use to install malicious software on a machine is to exploit one of these unpatched vulnerabilities. Examples of exploits can range from vulnerabilities in an unpatched version of Adobe Flash, a bug in Java or an old web browser all the way to an unpatched, outdated operating system. Internet-exposed Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) sessions are another very common means of infecting networks. RDP sessions are used to remotely log in to Windows computers and allow the user to control that computer as if they were sitting in front of it. The technology typically uses port 3389 to communicate, and many organizations allow traffic from the internet through their firewall, so people can remotely access the computer. Hackers have become increasingly skilled at attacking these exposed computers and using them to spread malware within a network. RDP is exploited either due to an unpatched vulnerability or due to password guessing because the victims chose very weak passwords and/or did not enable account lockout protections. The best way to prevent an infection is to not rely on just one solution, but to use multiple, layered solutions for the best possible protection. Security Awareness Training It’s easier to prevent malware infections if you know what to look for. If you understand the latest techniques cybercriminals are using, the easier it will be to avoid. Take an active approach to educating yourself by taking a security awareness training course. Internet Security Products There are many commercial products that will help you avoid all malware infections, but understand that none of them are 100% effective. The cyber criminals are always looking for weaknesses in security products and promptly take advantage of them. Antivirus Software While antivirus is highly recommended, you should have multiple layers of protection in place. It is not wise to solely rely on antivirus software to keep your PC secure, as it cannot prevent infections from zero-day or newly emerging threats. The list of antivirus products below was proven the most effective at preventing malware from Avira Antivirus Pro Kaspersky Internet Security Bitdefender Internet Security Norton Security Trend Micro Internet Security 4. Anti Malware Software Most anti-malware software like Malware Bytes is designed to run alongside Antivirus products, and it’s recommended you have both in place. Whitelisting Software Whitelisting offers the best protection against malware and virus attacks. Whitelisting software allows only known good software that you approve to run or execute on your system. All other applications are prevented from running or executing. Backup Solutions In the event of a catastrophic attack or complete system failure, it’s essential to have your data backed up. Many have been able to quickly and fully recover from an attack because their data was backed up and safe. We recommend using one of the following online storage services and an external hard drive (that you disconnect after the backup) at the same time as the best possible backup solutions like: It’s a given that ransomware is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It’s not new, so organizations should be pretty well-versed in how to stave an attack, as well as how to remediate one should it successfully encrypt the organization’s data and/or systems. However, ransomware claims are up 50% in 2019 with attacks outpacing the previous five years. This is indicative that organizations are largely unprepared for an attack. The best time to get serious about prevention is before an attack, not after. Shawn Taylor at Dark Reading lays out 5 excellent cybersecurity resolutions to consider: This free manual is packed with actionable info that you need to prevent infections, and what to do when you get hit. You will also receive an Attack Response Checklist and a Prevention Checklist. You will learn more about: Because all strains are different, there isn’t one set of removal instructions that works across the board. Below are steps to take to begin the removal process from a Windows PC, which may work completely for some but not all if you have a really nasty infection. It’s recommended to use Malware Bytes to detect and remove the malware. If you are unable to run a Malware Bytes scan, restart your PC in safe mode and try to run the Malware Bytes scan this way. However, if you don't remove it, you will be unable to decrypt your encrypted files so they will be gone forever! To enter safe mode: as your computer restarts but before Windows launches, press F8. Some strains will prevent you from entering Windows or running programs, if this is the case you can try to use System Restore to roll Windows back in time before the infection. Use your Windows disc to access recovery tools by selecting “Repair your Computer” on the main menu. If a system restore doesn’t help and you still can’t access Windows, try running a virus scan from a bootable disc or USB drive. If the above steps have not worked, the last resort is a Factory Restore. Use the arrow keys to highlight the appropriate safe mode option, then press ENTER. Restore your system using the System Restore settings by restarting your PC and hitting the F8 key when the PC begins to boot up. If you don’t have your Windows disc, you can create one from another PC running the same version of Windows. You could try using creating a Bitdefender Rescue CD. PC World has comprehensive instructions for performing a factory restore. If you manage to remove the infection from your PC using any of the steps above (except the factory restore) your next task will be to recover your files. Unhiding Files If you are lucky, hopefully your data didn't get encrypted but instead hid your icons, shortcuts, and files, you can easily show hidden files: Open Computer, navigate to C:\Users\, and open the folder of your Windows account name. Then right-click each folder that’s hidden, open Properties, uncheck the Hidden attribute, and click OK. Encrypted Files If you followed the steps above to unhide your files and this didn’t work and you still can’t find any of your data, this means that your files have been malware-encrypted. Unfortunately it isn’t possible to decrypt or unlock your hostage files, because the decryption key is typically stored on the cybercriminal’s server. From here you have 2 options: Option 1: Restore your files from a backup. If you have a backup system in place, and they haven’t been encrypted as well, you should be able to restore all your files this way. If you don’t have a backup system in place, you might be able to recover some of your files from Shadow Volume Copies, but most definitely not all your personal files. To use shadow volume copies, right-click Select files/folders and open Properties to view the Previous Versions list, or use a program called Shadow Explorer. Most authors will deliver the decryption key and return your files once you pay, but keep in mind, there is no guarantee. You may pay the ransom and get nothing in return, after all you are dealing with thieves. Ransomware decryption is an uphill battle for security professionals. As new strains are discovered, decryptors are created, then cybercriminals update their malware to get past decryption methods. Click here to see our list of known free ransomware decryptors. Ransomware attacks cause downtime, data loss, possible intellectual property theft, and in certain industries an attack is considered a data breach. Wouldn’t it be great to have an actionable checklist of what to do when you get hit and how to prevent it in the future? part may be reproduced in any form without explicit written permission.

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