how does ransomware spread

As the name implies, ransomware is a type of malware that demands some form of payment from the victim in order to recover control of their computer and/or data. Ransomware is often spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or through drive-by downloading. There are many ways for ransomware to spread. Ransomware which exploits OS vulnerabilities can spread like wildfire because it does not require human interaction to spread. WannaCry is a ransomware worm that spread rapidly through across a number of computer networks in May of 2017. Leakware can have particularly high stakes for image-conscious organizations or those who deal with especially sensitive information, like healthcare companies and government agencies. Ransomware has been a hot topic the past couple of years. Fake email messages might appear to be a note from a friend or colleague asking a user to check out an attached file, for example. Similar to a drive-by downloading scheme, malvertising delivers the ransomware via a malicious ad. Manage ticketing, reporting, and billing to increase helpdesk efficiency. Users should also be careful about what programs they give administrative access to, which can help stymie potential attack vectors. Ransomware is commonly distributed via emails that encourage the recipient to … How does ransomware work? Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim's files. MSSPs and Other Supply Chain Partners The software is wreaking havoc on organizations that are not prepared for it. Hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have emboldened bad actors using ransomware, making them more likely to carry out these attacks knowing the likelihood of being tracked down is low. In order to protect their customers from the full range of attacks levied by bad actors of today and tomorrow, MSPs should consider what software will best serve them in an increasingly hostile digital environment. And according to cybersecurity provider IntSights, more than 25% of all malware attacks have hit banks and other financial firms—more than any other industry. Ransomware software can be delivered via social media messaging platforms, untrustworthy domains, and drive-by-download attacks. Another way used by cybercriminals is hiding the ransomware links in a button or the body of the email. Once a crime actor has broken into the MSSP system, they have complete access to your network and they can install the malware or poke around and see what data looks enticing to them. 2 - Install malware protection Today’s managed services providers (MSPs) face an increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal landscape. And experts predict that the frequency will increase to an attack every 11 seconds by 2021. This particular malware uses an APC (Asynchronous Procedure Call) to inject a DLL into the user mode process of lsass.exe. WannaCry ransomware disrupted businesses and government organizations in more than 150 countries. Is every device protected? Please allow tracking on this page to request a subscription. Like other malware, ransomware … But left unpatched, the security holes can be exploited by ransomware to spread its devastating effects. As one might expect, this has led to a digital environment rife with ransomware attacks—both sophisticated and simple. Threat Monitor leverages cloud technology to provide MSPs with powerful control over complex managed networks. At the most basic level, cybercriminals carry out ransomware attacks by using encryption software to encrypt files and bar traditional access to them. With a vulnerable web server, the idea is similar. The specific attack vectors differ, as we’ll discuss going forward, but the overall goal is to ransom valuable proprietary information. Drive-by Downloading No industry, no business size, no file types are immune to ransomware. Are you thinking ahead to how laptops transition from home networks and back to the corporate network? In order to prevent the spread of ransomware, it’s important to start with two very specific steps: 1 - Update your software So automating patching can not only help save money and precious time you can spend elsewhere, but, more importantly, it can block threats before they turn into full blow attacks: Ideally, the right software will be able to provide the kind of security monitoring you need to exercise visibility over your digital environment, detect threats as they occur, and connect you with the tools necessary to act. Ransomware: How does it work and what can you do to stop it. The hope is that if these emails are sent to enough people, someone will click the link and allow access to their system, unknowingly. Whether you work on a mobile device, desktop, Mac, Windows, or even Linux, you are a target for ransomware. 1. Make sure your RDP is only accessible via a VPN. Note: Firefox users may see a shield icon to the left of the URL in the address bar. Although each ransomware variant has its own methods, all ransomware relies on similar social engineering tactics to trick legitimate network users into unknowingly granting bad actors access. While email is the most common way ransomware attacks are carried out, it’s not the only method. In the beginning, ransomware was only capable of attacking the device or machine that it infected. Subsequently, when you attempt to access your computer, a feedback message informs you of the hijacking of your files or logs. One dimension of ransomware that makes it so common is that it’s easy for cybercriminals to lean on existing ransomware variants to execute their attacks. There are even opportunities for bad actors to use prefabricated ransomware software. Locky This ransomware gained notoriety by infecting and collecting big ransom from Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in CA. How does it spread? Doing so will help ensure devices and networks are not vulnerable to new types of malware. For more information about ransomware, check out our other articles here: Malicious extensions that are added to file names: © 2020 Measured Insurance LLC, All rights reserved. Beyond that, you may be facing the prospect of a complete restore, although most ransomware won’t require you to go quite this far. Most commonly, it spreads by email phishing and automatic downloads on infected websites. How Does Ransomware Spread? Users then receive some kind of alert warning them access to their files has been blocked and directing them to a portal where they must pay—usually in cryptocurrency—for the files to be decrypted. But just because hackers have the ability to encrypt your data so quickly doesn’t always mean that they will. With SolarWinds® Threat Monitor, MSPs can do just that. Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge that removing ransomware will not necessarily decrypt files that have already been encrypted. © SolarWinds MSP Canada ULC and SolarWinds MSP UK Ltd. They are advertised as updates for Adobe Acrobat, Java and Flash Player. Just as you protect your files and physical devices from an attack, you must prepare your workforce to detect the common social engineering tactics that crime actors use to trick people into infecting their networks with ransomware. Ransomware spreads in many of the same ways other malware makes its way onto computers: through corrupt e-mail attachments, malicious … The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment. About Encryption: Crypto malware encrypts any data file that the victim has access to since it generally runs in the context of the user that invokes the executable and does not need administrative rights. Malvertising The spam email will have an attachment disguised as a legitimate file or will include a URL link in the body of the email. Ransomware continues to grow in both frequency and scope of damage. The only way to decrypt them is to use complex mathematical keys only the encrypter knows. Think about phishing emails like malware that casts a wide net. As the Internet of Things (IoT) and BYOD policies grow in popularity in the workplace, and as business networks become more complex, MSPs trusted with the security of their customers’ networks need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to bad actors and the types of malware they deploy. Within that broad definition, there are a few twists and turns that are worth noting. Though it might not sound typical in today’s age of cloud services, removable media is a common form of delivery for malware. Dharma, SamSam, and GandCrab, etc., are typical examples of ransomware spread through a remote desktop protocol. Drive-by downloading happens when a client accidentally visits a contaminated site and after that malware is downloaded and introduced without the client’s learning. By the end of 2019, global ransomware events are projected to cost $22,184 per minute.Even between Q1 and Q2, the average ransom payment increased 184%—from $12,762 in Q1 to $36,295 in Q2. ... Once you become a victim of such a virus, it can potentially spread to other equipment, via a server network. With an MSSP, they already have access and likely authority to manage users, update software, etc. It’s becoming so common that the likelihood of your business remaining unscathed is incredibly low. It’s becoming so common that the likelihood of your business remaining unscathed is incredibly low. By the end of 2019, global ransomware events are projected to cost $22,184 per minute. Email is the most common way by which ransomware spreads. In addition to the staggering financial impact of ransomware in recent years, it’s also important to note that ransomware … How does Ransomware Spread? After this, you can begin an inventory of your files. While it’s possible to remove ransomware once it’s already affected your computer, it’s better for users to know how to prevent ransomware from infiltrating devices in the first place. In August of 2019, hundreds of dental offices around the country found they could no longer access their patient records. 4 - Train your employees Similarly, you and your customers should be backing up your files as frequently as possible. DoublePulsar is the backdoor malware that EternalBlue checks to determine the existence and they are closely tied together. In this article, I will attempt a deep dive into what Phobos ransomware is, how it spreads, and how you can protect your enterprise against it. If you’re not seeing your typical icons and shortcuts, for example, the ransomware you’re dealing with may have just hidden them. Train your workforce to use the protections you’ve set up--including two-factor authentication, spotting phishing emails, and keeping their systems up-to-date. What’s more, these figures only represent attacks that have been reported—it’s likely that many businesses choose not to make attacks public knowledge lest they damage their reputation or have to deal with the broader implications of a potential breach. Once injected, exploit shellcode is installed to help maintain pe… Ransomware is often spread via social engineering or email attacks, where the end user has been fooled into clicking on an infected link or opening an attachment containing malware. Automate what you need. This is just one example of the tremendous disruptive potential of ransomware attacks. Defend against ransomware, zero-day attacks, and evolving online threats with Endpoint Detection and Response. As you may know, the remote desktop is a communication protocol that allows connection between two computers over a network connection, and this a popular attack vector. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. By doing this, they can help themselves and their customers stay ahead of the most recent ransomware developments. A note about malicious attachments or downloads: it’s important to keep an up-to-date list of known ransomware extensions and files. Ransomware is regularly spread through phishing messages that contain pernicious connections or through drive-by downloading. Accordingly, ransomware attacks that encrypt these files or threaten to make them public pose a particularly debilitating—and increasingly common—threat to such public and private organizations. This means cybercriminals ranging from amateurs to the most experienced often see ransomware as a low-risk, high-reward option. But how does ransomware spread? Manage data protection for servers, workstations applications, documents and Microsoft 365 from one SaaS dashboard. Since then, it’s kept pace with new technologies and adapted to the vulnerabilities those technologies open up. Email attachments. All that is needed to execute the software or download it onto the device is for the visitor to open a link. Organizations that handle financially sensitive files or data governed by strict HIPAA laws have a vested interest in the security and privacy of the information they manage. Common attack methods of ransomware include phishing emails, vulnerable web servers, and malicious email attachments, which you can read about here. But while it might not be the most unique ransomware variant out there, Phobos can still lay waste to your system and scorch the earth behind it. Bad actors will exploit websites running vulnerable web servers and leverage the site for their own purposes--typically using the site as a front door to visitors and then unknowingly downloading the malware to those visitors systems. Ransomware is most typically distributed through spam email attacks. Like other ransomware seen in the past, Maze can spread across a corporate network, infect computers it finds and encrypts data so it cannot be accessed. Ransomware is a concern for businesses of every size. 3 - Protect your endpoints Most ransomware is delivered via email that appears to be legitimate, enticing you to click a link or download an attachment that delivers the malicious software. Grow at your own pace. Ransomware: How does it work and what can you do to stop it. Ransomware is a type of malware that hackers use to encrypt the victim's data and demand a ransom to restore it. Try this remote monitoring and management solution built to help maximize efficiency and scale. Europol held an expert meeting to combat the spread of “police ransomware,” and the German Federal Office for Information Security and the FBI have issued numerous warnings about ransomware. Apply the principle of least privilege for every employee, preventing access to data that isn’t necessary to their job duty. Setting up passwords or authentication to get into your RDP with a VPN as the front door will help protect you and your business. The answer may be discouraging. This is either an Ad Blocker plug-in or your browser is in private mode. For MSPs to provide their clients with the most reliable cybersecurity possible, the complex nature of ransomware calls for the appropriate skill set and tech stack for the job. And ransomware targets all types of devices. Knowing how ransomware spreads can help you to take the right steps to secure your personal and business computers. Most ransomware is spread hidden within Word documents, PDFs and other files normally sent via email, or through a secondary infection on computers already affected by viruses that offer a back door for further attacks. This dangerous malware holds the ability to completely encrypt your files in mere seconds. But the developers of the software have abandoned the project and the decryption key is now available for free online. Network Propagation If the user opens such email attachments, it can lead directly to an infection. If your customers are asking questions like “How does ransomware work?” or “What does ransomware do?” the simplest way to explain it is that bad actors encrypt files and demand payment for you to regain access. It’s important to note not all ransomware will present itself as such. And with centralized security monitoring, this near-comprehensive solution makes it possible to exercise this kind of control from a single central command. It’s an extra step, but that barrier creates a wider gap between you and the possibility of an attack. Frighteningly, advanced cybercriminals have developed ransomware—such as NotPetya—that can infiltrate networks, exploit vulnerabilities, and access sensitive information without social engineering tricks that try to get users to grant access themselves. 6 - Segment your network and utilize PoLP Once the web visitor clicks on that ad, likely ranked on search engine result pages or even social media sites, the malware is delivered and downloaded onto the device. MSPs should consider what software will best serve them, Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, IntSights, more than 25% of all malware attacks, While email is the most common way ransomware attacks are carried out, The TMSP Program: Offer Advanced Security Without Building Your Own SOC, Build a Powerful Security Offering with Managed Email Security, Creating Your Automation Strategy: Three Key Components You Must Have in Place, December 2020 Patch Tuesday—A quiet(er) finish to a busy year in vulnerabilities, Why Automation Should be Part of Your Sales Pitch, How Email Archiving Can Help Move You Toward SOX Compliance, Documentation Management API and Why It’s Important for the MSP Business, Identify which RMM solution is right for me. Ransomware infections spread with the assistance of emails containing software or linked malware. Updated software and malware protection are great first steps, but it’s also critical to think about every device that has access to your network. Once this has happened, ransomware software will use whatever access has been granted to locate sensitive proprietary information and encrypt it. Even between Q1 and Q2, the average ransom payment increased 184%—from $12,762 in Q1 to $36,295 in Q2. For instance, Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report found that of the different kinds of malware that affect the healthcare industry, 85% of infections are ransomware. Because these industries handle information that is carefully regulated and highly valuable, it’s no wonder bad actors target them with ransomware attacks. Are you requiring two-factor authentication? Crime actors are now using Managed Security Services Providers or other supply chain partners to get into your system. Ransomware continues to grow in both frequency and scope of damage. Emails are written and designed to trick or fool the opener into clicking a link or downloading a file. 5 - Protect your RDP Without the right software to block attacks, scan new files or programs, and keep up-to-date with known threats, you’re leaving our system vulnerable. First, there are variants with regard to exactly what the victim is being held to ransom for. Ransomware has been around for decades and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. How quickly does Ransomware spread? But how does ransomware spread? Ransomware has been a mainstay of malware cybercrime since the first recorded attack in 1989. Easily adopt and demonstrate best practice password and documentation management workflows. Click on this to disable tracking protection for this session/site. Ransomware is also delivered via drive-by-download attacks on compromised or malicious websites. New WastedLocker ransomware demands payments of millions of USD. After entry, the ransomware infects your critical systems, not only encrypting files but also locking down entire networks. Evil Corp, one of the biggest malware operations on the planet, has returned … It is generally spread using some form of social engineering; victims are tricked into downloading an e-mail attachment or clicking a link. Some attacks will masquerade as government agencies, such as the Department of Justice, and claim that a user’s files have been locked for breaking the law and they must pay a fine in order to reaccess them. Instead, you’ll be working to restart and restore your device to an earlier, uninfected setting. Threat Monitor is a security information and event management (SIEM) tool that uses threat intelligence, network and host intrusion detection systems, and other monitoring tools to deliver better visibility across managed networks. This ransomware was spread through spam campaigns. Next in our series on ransomware is more information about how ransomware spreads. However, if you’re up against a kind of ransomware that has locked your screen and barred you from starting other programs and applications, Windows users can try System Restore to return their device to an earlier state. In the same vein, cybercriminals may attempt to extort victims using other forms of intimidation rather than demanding payment in return for reaccess. To do so, MSPs need to take a proactive approach to malware defense rather than solving crises only as they occur. There are a few other vehicles that can deliver ransomware to your system: Remote Desktop Protocol At this point, you should begin looking at previous backups, scanning them for viruses and malware, and restoring them. Beyond that, MSPs should invest in cybersecurity applications capable of protecting organizational devices and networks from the full range of digital threats. The Ransomware is usually disguised as an email attachment and sent to unwary users. Once the ransomware is on your system, if it incorporates a cryptoworm, it can easily spread throughout your network until it runs out of places to spread or hits appropriate security barriers. But what makes Maze more dangerous is that it also steals the data it finds and exfiltrates it to servers controlled by malicious hackers who then threaten to release it if a ransom is not paid. How to Prevent and Prepare for Ransomware Attacks, What You Need to Know About Ransomware Insurance, how_recover+[random].txt, how_recover.txt, HELP_TO_SAVE_FILES.txt RECOVERY_FILES.txt. Keeping your system up-to-date will ensure any security holes are patched and your system is in the best position to defend against unwanted software attacks or downloads. What is your plan for mobile devices? In short, ransomware is a critical issue for businesses across the digital landscape. 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