The world is now focused on ransomware, perhaps more so than any previous cybersecurity threat in history. But if the viability of ransomware as a criminal business model should decline, expect those attackers to quickly embrace something else, such as illicitly mining for cryptocurrency.
As ransomware attacks become more prolific, their success is being driven by the increasing use of specialists who can refine every stage of an attack. It's a reminder that the goal of cybercrime remains to maximize illicit profits as easily and quickly as possible.
Ransomware-wielding criminals continue to hone their illicit business models, as demonstrated by the strike against customers of Kaseya. A full postmortem of the attack has yet to be issued, but one question sure to be leveled at the software vendor is this: Should it have fixed the flaw more quickly?
The code used to build copies of Babuk ransomware - to infect victims with the crypto-locking malware - has been leaked, after someone posted the software to virus-scanning service VirusTotal. Whether the leak was intentional - perhaps a rival gang seeking to burn the operation - remains unclear.
Based on Russian-language cybercrime chatter, "fear" likely drove the lucrative Avaddon ransomware-as-a-service operation to announce its retirement as the U.S. exerts increasing diplomatic pressure on Moscow to disrupt such activity, experts say. But are criminals simply laying low until the heat dies down?
The prolific Avaddon ransomware-as-a-service operation has announced its closure and released 2,934 decryption keys for free. Has the increased focus by Western governments on combating ransomware been driving this and other operations to exit the fray?
A small U.S. nuclear weapons contractor has confirmed that it suffered a ransomware attack, resulting in the theft of data. Credit for the attack has been taken by the ransomware-as-a-service operation known as REvil, aka Sodinokibi, which the FBI recently tied to the attack against meatpacking giant JBS.
Is it any wonder that criminals keep flocking to ransomware when their individual haul from a well-executed digital heist can be worth $11 million? That's the amount paid to the REvil ransomware gang by meatpacker JBS USA, after its systems were crypto-locked on May 30.
If you're a Russian cybercrime gang feeling the heat after being sanctioned by the U.S. government, why not rebrand? So goes an apparent move by Evil Corp to disguise its WastedLocker ransomware as rival gang Babuk's PayloadBin, so any ransom payers won't think they're violating U.S. sanctions.
"They’re playing games," is how one security expert describes Conti ransomware-wielding attackers' "gift" of a decryptor to Ireland's crypto-locked health service, while still demanding a ransom to not leak stolen health data. The same could be said of the DarkSide gang's promised retirement.
For anyone wondering how the Russian-speaking, ransomware-wielding DarkSide crime syndicate was able to disrupt a major U.S. fuel pipeline, a more pertinent question might be: Why didn’t it happen sooner?
"It's not personal ... It's strictly business." That line from "The Godfather" encapsulates the mindset of criminals who extort businesses using ransomware and other tools: Their imperative is profits, no matter any disruption they might cause to critical services, such as those provided by Colonial Pipeline.
Ransomware continues to prove a reliable moneymaker for criminals, with the average cyber extortion payoff rising to $220,298, reports ransomware incident response firm Coveware. Zero-day attacks and shakedowns targeting Accellion File Transfer Appliance users helped boost criminals' profits.
Crisis communications: If your organization suffers a ransomware outbreak - despite its best cybersecurity efforts - is it ready to respond quickly and transparently? Experts have lauded the Scottish Environment Protection Agency for its response, saying it's a model for other victims to emulate.
The zero-day attacks against Accellion's File Transfer Appliance show that a number of big-name firms continued to use the legacy technology - even though more secure, cloud-based options were available. Evidently, many CISOs didn't see a compelling reason to move on. Of course, now they do.