The FBI has issued a warning about the growing threat from the operators behind the Egregor ransomware variant and other cybercriminal gangs affiliated with the group. Since September, the crypto-locking malware has been associated with nearly 100 attacks worldwide.
Ransomware gangs entered 2020 with a full and dangerous set of weapons at their disposal and then rolled out additional tools such as extortion and new distribution methods, a trend that is expected to continue into 2021.
lackBerry researchers are tracking a relatively new ransomware variant called "MountLocker" and the operators behind it, who are using affiliate cybercriminal gangs to help spread the malware, exfiltrate data and extort victims, sometimes for millions of dollars.
Hackers are targeting thousands of vulnerable MySQL servers around the world, using ransomware to exfiltrate data from organizations and then demanding payment, according to Guardicore Labs. The attackers are also selling access to over 250,000 stolen databases.
CISA is warning that local K-12 school districts are increasingly under assault by cyberthreats targeting vulnerable networks that are disrupting physical and virtual education throughout the U.S. The top security problems include ransomware, Trojans and other malware as well as DDoS attacks.
Dutch HR firm Randstad and the public transportation agency of Vancouver, Canada, are continuing to recover from ransomware attacks. Both incidents appear to have involved Egregor ransomware, with Randstad reporting that data was exfiltrated and is now being leaked by attackers to try and force payment.
Criminals continue to rely on automated bots for phishing attacks, web scraping, credential stuffing and more. But while gangs previously needed to amass large, powerful botnets to be effective, now they need relatively few devices, says Group-IB CTO Dmitry Volkov.
French IT services firm Sopra Steria, which was hit with Ryuk ransomware in October, now estimates that the attack could cost the company up to $60 million in recovery costs. Experts say that after going quiet in March, Ryuk reappeared in September, and has targeted numerous hospitals.
Although the global financial industry has made strides in protecting its data from malware, including Trojans, cyberthreats such as network intrusion, ransomware and criminal gang cooperation are presenting fresh challenges, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Over the past five years, ransomware-as-a-service offerings have largely evolved from putting automated toolkits into the hands of subscribers to recruiting affiliates and sharing profits. To maximize revenue, some larger operators are also seeking affiliates with more advanced IT and hacking skills.
Darkside is the latest ransomware operation to announce an affiliate program in which a ransomware operator maintains crypto-locking malware and a ransom payment infrastructure while crowdsourced and vetted affiliates find and infect targets. When a victim pays, the operator and affiliate share the loot.
Victims of crypto-locking malware who pay a ransom to their attackers are paying, on average, more than ever before. But investigators warn that when victims pay for a guarantee that all data stolen during an attack will get deleted, criminals often fail to honor their promises.
The number of attacks related to Emotet continues to spike after the dangerous botnet re-emerged over the summer with a fresh phishing and spam campaign, according to research from HP-Bromium. During this time, Emotet is mainly infecting devices with the QBot or QakBot banking Trojan.
The Maze cybercrime gang, which revolutionized the ransomware business by adding an extortion element to each attack, has issued a statement saying it has hung up its spikes and will retire, at least temporarily. Security executives do confirm Maze's activity has dropped off in recent months.