How are Businesses Blackmailed by Ransomware Gangs?
Advancements in technology means ransomware groups can now easily target businesses and take control of sensitive information. A cybersecurity attack can leave businesses vulnerable to data exposure, reputational damage, and profit loss.
Ransomware Infographic Cybersecurity
Using Hidden Identities
Ransomware gangs use dark web forums to organize and recruit workers. They use tools and cryptocurrencies to hide their identities so they cannot easily be tracked down. By using hidden identities, they are able to manipulate you.
Taking Control of Data
Ransomware is malware preventing your company from accessing its data. These hacker gangs can take control of your sensitive business information including your employee data, customer data, business secrets, and more.
Sometimes two separate ransomware gangs will collaborate on a cyberattack. This is known as double encryption, and the tactic is used to increase their chance of profit at the expense of your sensitive business information.
Another tactic ransomware gangs use is layered encryption. The gang will use one ransomware strain to encrypt the data set, and then use a second strain to encrypt the entire data set again.
Instead of layering strains on top of a data set to encrypt the data, an attacker may use a side-by-side approach. This technique involves using one ransomware strain to encrypt only part of the data set, and another strain to encrypt the remainder of the data.
Making Threats for Ransom
After a ransomware gang accesses and encrypts your sensitive business data, they will typically threaten you for a ransom. You will be asked to pay the ransom by a certain deadline in order to receive the decryption key.
Exposing Sensitive Data
If you choose not to pay the ransom, the attacker may threaten to delete the data or expose it. If the data is exposed, it could put your employees, business relationships, and your consumers at risk.
Law enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts have warned against paying ransom. If you choose to pay, you are much more likely to suffer another attack. Plus, paying does not guarantee you will receive the encryption key. Hackers only release the data 65-70% of the time.
Risk of Liability
In October 2020, the U.S Treasury Department warned victims who respond to ransom demands may be liable to prosecution themselves. The criminal offense doesn't apply to the payment of ransom from hard-disk encryption, but it can apply to any extortion payment. The same law applies to third parties such as financial institutions, cyber insurance companies, and companies involved in digital forensics and incident response.
Ransomware gangs can pose a serious risk to your business. We can help protect your business from a ransomware attack. Browse our products designed to prevent data breaches from hacker gangs so you can keep your information safe.
As if ransomware wasn't terrifying enough, it is becoming increasingly sophisticated and increasingly cost-effective.
The evolution of ransomware over the past few years has pushed the cost of ransomware in the US to an average of $1,517, with one incident costing more than $19,000.
And that's for the average business, making ransomware an attractive choice for financially motivated hackers.
Organizations will be required to change their practices if they're going to stay ahead of the evolving threat.
Elsewhere, a German train operator was hit by a "sophisticated attack" that reportedly froze 30 trains and left passengers stranded for hours.
What is Ransomware?
Businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, and are being persuaded to pay ransoms in order to regain access to their data. Malware writers are now targeting small and medium-sized businesses, which tend to be less able to pay the large sums demanded by attackers. The demand for bitcoins has continued to rise, so is there any way for a business to protect itself?
The term ransomware means 'lock out', and it occurs when attackers infect a computer with malicious software. They then remotely lock the infected computer so that the owner is unable to access the machine. If the owner does not pay the ransom within a specified period of time, they will be left with no way to regain access to their data, and will have to resort to non-repudiable options such as a wipe or hard drive back up.