CyberSense® Ransomware News
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This year cybercrime is estimated to cost the world over $1 trillion—a large part of which will be caused by the cost of remediating devastating ransomware attacks. As organizations continue to adapt to the new normal, cybercriminals are only increasing the scope and sophistication of their attacks. This means that alongside everything else that made last year remarkable, in the future, 2020 may also be remembered as the year that ransomware “took off.”
If companies can't pay ransoms and don't have any other way to restore their data, they will face huge costs and disruption – potentially enough to put them out of business. Even organisations with backups and the required technical know-how will be forced to spend time and money restoring their systems. That could put them at a significant disadvantage compared to ransomware victims based elsewhere.
Government organizations took the biggest share of ransomware attacks last year — 31,906, while the banking sector suffered 22,082 attacks. Another industry that was hit hard by ransomware last year is manufacturing. It experienced 17,071 ransomware attacks, which made up 16% of last year’s ransomware threats aimed at top industries. Next up is the healthcare sector. It suffered 15,701 attacks, which accounted for nearly 15% of ransomware attacks targeting businesses in top sectors in 2020. Finally, rounding out the top five industries most targeted by ransomware last year is the finance sector. It underwent 4,917 or almost 5% of last year’s ransomware attacks.
DS: Do your operators target organizations that have cyber insurance?
UNK: Yes, this is one of the tastiest morsels. Especially to hack the insurers first—to get their customer base and work in a targeted way from there. And after you go through the list, then hit the insurer themselves.
The techniques used to deploy ransomware attacks have also changed. Once delivered mostly through mass email blasts, ransomware is now commonly deployed and operated through sophisticated and highly targeted attacks. The chaos and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last year created a window for cybercriminals to reach new levels of sophistication and danger. In 2020, a victim was infected by ransomware every 11 seconds.
the REvil cybercriminal gang (also known as Sodinokibi) announced that it had breached Acer and shared some images of allegedly stolen files as proof. The leaked images consist of documents that include financial spreadsheets, bank balances and bank communications.
A reported leak of the ransom note revealed that Acer has until March 28 to pay the $50 million ransom. If the ransom is not paid by that date, the ransom will apparently double to $100 million.
Security experts predict the pace of ransomware attacks will accelerate this year as operators continue to succeed in extorting ransoms. As campaigns grow more organized and targeted, and the tools they require become easier to access, the future looks ominous for defenders.
The buying and selling of stolen login credentials and other forms of remote access to networks has long been a part of the dark web ecosystem, but according to analysis by cybersecurity researchers at Digital Shadows, there's been a notable increase in listings by 'Initial Access Brokers' over the course of the past year. These brokers work to hack into networks but, rather than making profit by conducting their own cyber campaigns, they'll act as a middleman, selling entry to networks on to other criminals, making money from the sales.
A new organization became a victim of ransomware every 10 seconds in 2020 with remote workers experiencing a sharp uptick in threats, according to Check Point. The report claimed that consumers and organizations face 100,000 malicious websites and 10,000 malicious files every day, with double extortion ransomware in particular on the rise. In Q3 2020, nearly half of all ransomware incidents involved theft of data from the targeted organization.
In a report Thursday summarizing its efforts over the past year, the CTI League says it expects ransomware attacks and activities like the trading and selling of databases containing protected health information (PHI) to increase this year. The group also expects an increase in "triple extortion" attacks involving the use of ransomware, data theft, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks as leverage to extort money from healthcare entities.
The frequency of those crimes is increasing rapidly. An EU report published in 2020 found that ransomware attacks increased by 365% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Since then, the situation is likely to have become much worse. The US security company PurpleSec has suggested that overall business losses caused by ransomware attacks might have exceeded US$20 billion (£14.3 billion) in 2020, up from US$11.5 billion (£8.2 billion) in 2019.
To prevent the leak of the data and receive a decryptor, DoppelPaymer is demanding 404 bitcoins worth approximately $20 million. If a ransom is not paid within a specific time frame, the amount increases to 600 bitcoins, or $30 million.
The rising trend matches data from other security firms. Ransomware made up half of all cybersecurity incidents in 2020 and 81% of all financially motivated attacks, according to a report from the incident response team at CrowdStrike. The average ransom has exceeded $1.4 million, twice the cost of the cost of recovery, according to a report from Sophos.
Businesses are finding themselves unable to prevent the spread of ransomware. Most organizations have poor visibility into their endpoints, which makes them highly vulnerable to ransomware. Further, once the ransomware infects a network, they are almost powerless to stop it from spreading.
In a coordinated, multi-part offensive against NetWalker ransomware attackers, law enforcement agencies announced Wednesday that they charged a Canadian national, seized nearly half a million dollars in cryptocurrency and disabled a dark web leak site. Vachon-Desjardins stands accused of obtaining at least $27.6 million. The cryptocurrency amounts that law enforcement recovered are gains from payments by three separate victims, according to DOJ.
Ransomware attacks have become more powerful and lucrative than ever before – to such an extent that advanced cyber-criminal groups have switched to using it over their traditional forms of crime – and it's very likely that they're just going to become even more potent in 2021.
The pandemic also created unprecedented conditions in cyberspace, reshaping networks by pushing people to work from home en masse, creating a scramble to access vaccine research by any means, generating new fodder for criminals to launch extortion attempts and scams, and producing novel opportunities for nation-state espionage.
These survey results reveal just how big of a problem the ransomware epidemic is: We’re in the midst of a global health pandemic that has taken trillions of dollars out of the global economy, yet many security professionals are more fearful of ransomware. Why? In many cases, it’s because they don’t have an effective ransomware incident response (IR) plan in place – and therefore, they don’t know what to do when a ransomware attack occurs.
66% of companies say it would take 5 or more days to fully recover from a ransomware attack ransom not paid
Almost two-thirds of respondents said they thought the security measures at their enterprise had not kept up with their IT complexity. Nearly half said their company had experienced a ransomware attack and among those who had suffered through one, on average they said they've faced 4.5 attacks.
"We are aware of a 3rd party IT company working on your network. We continue to monitor and know that you are installing SentinelOne antivirus on all your computers. But you should know that it will not help. If you want to stop wasting your time and recover your data this week, we recommend that you discuss this situation with us in the chat or the problems with your network will never end."
Included in the ransom note is a link to Foxconn's victim page on DoppelPaymer's Tor payment site where the threat actors are demanding approximately $34,686,000... the threat actors claim to have encrypted about 1,200 servers, stole 100 GB of unencrypted files, and deleted 20-30 TB Of backups.
the number of publicly recorded ransomware attacks against manufacturing has tripled in the last year alone. That's potentially very troubling because the interconnected nature of the manufacturing supply chain means that if one factory gets taken down by a cyberattack, it could have wide-ranging consequences.
The fact that it was forced to cease nearly all operations for two weeks makes this attack stand out from what would usually be just another ransomware attack. “Ransomware attackers are going after higher-value targets and that includes operational networks,” Carcano explained. “And remediation costs and efforts to repair the operational, financial and reputational damage caused by these attacks put a significant strain on leadership teams.”
The LockBit gang partnered with Maze to create an extortion cartel to share the same data leak platform during attacks, as well as to exchange tactics and intelligence. LockBit ransomware actors also take as little as five minutes to deploy payloads after gaining access to the victim network.
aggressive Russian cybercriminal gang known for deploying ransomware was preparing to disrupt information technology systems at hundreds of hospitals, clinics and medical care facilities across the United States. Today, officials from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hastily assembled a conference call with healthcare industry executives warning about an “imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.”
Ransomware attacks grew by more than 365% in 2019 alone, and a growing number of those target backups. If you are attacked, your business could be forced to decide whether to pay the ransom. Plenty of people are doing just that, and it's expensive. One recent report found that the average cost of getting back to normal, including the ransom, costs nearly $1.5 million. There are very good reasons why hackers are attacking backups: They know that the data in those backups are the keys to the kingdom, and they are extremely profitable.
Data from 25,000 small-to-midsize organizations reveals ransomware as the top cyber insurance incident in the first half of the year, with the average ransomware demand increasing 100% from 2019 through Q1 2020
The impacts of a ransomware attack reach much further than technological or financial consequences on the business – they also take a toll on the humans behind IT security and their abilities to address future threats. "Experiencing a ransomware attack firsthand adds even greater strain, undermining confidence in their own abilities and preparedness.”
Over a third of cyber-attacks observed by Kroll in 2020 can be attributed to three main ransomware gangs. "Ryuk and Sodinokibi, perennially the most observed form of ransomware attack in Kroll’s cases, have been joined by Maze as the top three ransomwares so far in 2020, comprising 35% of all cyber-attacks," and over two-fifths (42%) of Kroll’s cases with a known ransomware variant are connected to a ransomware group actively exfiltrating and publishing victim data,".
A widespread hacking operation that has been targeting organisations around the world in a phishing and malware campaign that has been active since 2016 has now switched to ransomware attacks, reflecting how successful ransomware has become as a money-making tool for cyber criminals. Dubbed FIN11 who describe the hackers as a 'well-established financial crime group' which has conducted some of the longest running hacking campaigns.
Companies victimized by ransomware and firms that facilitate negotiations with ransomware extortionists could face steep fines from the U.S. federal government if the crooks who profit from the attack are already under economic sanctions, the Treasury Department warned today.
In its advisory (PDF), the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said “companies that facilitate ransomware payments to cyber actors on behalf of victims, including financial institutions, cyber insurance firms, and companies involved in digital forensics and incident response, not only encourage future ransomware payment demands but also may risk violating OFAC regulations.”
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.
The ransomware group REvil has deposited $1m worth of bitcoins into a hacker forum to initiate recruitment of affiliates. REvil seeks to hire affiliates who are skilled at penetration testing and other hacker routines, as well as people who have experience with hacking but do not have access to work.
Ransomware incidents appeared to explode in June 2020. Ransom demands are increasing exponentially. In some cases, IBM Security X-Force is seeing ransom demands of more than $40 million. Attackers are finding schools and universities to be an even more attractive target for ransomware attacks, especially as they begin classes virtually or are experimenting with hybrid environments due to COVID-19.
There’s plenty of evidence to indicate that cybercriminal groups consider the human foibles of their victims. According to Microsoft, ransomware actors actively switch tactics and tools depending on the specific security environment they encounter upon initial network access, or plan attacks around holidays and other times when they know the patching response will be slow.