Ransomware: Latest Variants and Trends on the Rise

A ransomware attack is one of the effective strategies cybercriminals use to encrypt users’ data and prevent them from accessing it until a ransom amount is paid. While the rate of ransomware attacks is less than other malware types, including viruses and trojans, it can have severe consequences on businesses and individuals alike. Ransomware attacks have been on the rise since 2018, reaching their highest at 68.5% in 2021.

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Here in this blog, we will talk about some of the emerging ransomware you should know about and how you can prevent such attacks.  

Ransomware Variants 

Over the past few years, we have observed several new variants of ransomware, and it would be not wrong to say that ransomware is here to stay. A whopping percentage of ransomware attacks are discovered every year. One of Statista's latest research shows the percentage of newly discovered ransomware families. It is critical to raise awareness about ransomware attacks and to prevent them. Some of them are given below. 

 

Ryuk Ransomware 

Ryuk is one of the most dangerous ransomware attacks that uses AES-256 encryption to encrypt your sensitive data, including databases and servers. Using this attack, attackers shut down different services and processes that could prevent Ryuk from performing the attack. After encrypting your data, the attacker leaves a note in your system as RyukReadMe.txt and UNIQUW_ID_DO_NOT_REMOVE.txt and demands a ransom.  

 

Hive Ransomware 

Hive is one of the recent ransomware variants discovered in 2021, and it is used by Ransomware-as-a-service providers. Cybercriminals use Hive to execute ransom attacks on energy providers, healthcare providers, and charities across the world. Hive encrypts data, steals it, and demands a ransom amount to recover infected files, and the hackers threaten the victim that they will publish their data on a dark web site called HiveLeaks 

 

RedAlert Ransomware 

RedAlert is another ransomware variant that was discovered in July and affects Windows and Linux servers. It encrypts files on the victim's server and steals its data. A ransom amount is demanded from the victim to recover data otherwise their data will be released on data leak sites for anyone to download.  

 

PureLocker Ransomware 

PureLocker is a ransomware attack that targets company servers and encrypts them to demand ransom from victims in exchange for their data. It is written in PureBasic programming language and facilitates attacks on different platforms as it is transferable between Linux, Windows, and OX-X. Large criminal organizations use this variant to execute ransomware attacks.  

 

BlueSky Ransomware 

BlueSky is one of the emerging families of ransomware variants and uses advanced techniques to disrupt security. It relies on multithreading techniques and targets Windows hosts to perform faster encryption than other variants. BlueSky shows a ransom note to victims and asks them to visit the BlueSky TOR site to get further instructions. 

 

How to protect your networks from ransomware attacks? 

Ransomware is one the fastest growing threats that target all types of users, including home and corporate users. While dangerous variants of ransomware are emerging, there are ways to protect your systems and networks from ransomware attacks.  

 

 

Encrypt your data at rest and in-transit:

Data Encryption make a hacker's job a lot harder, as they would not only have to break into a server but also break the encryption or find the key to decrypt the data. But data isn’t only vulnerable when it’s at rest. Managed File Transfer software that uses encryption and file transfer protocols to transfer files across the different endpoints in your organization securely ensuring sensitive data remains secure across your organization. 
 

Continuously monitor your network:

Cyberattacks occur 24x7, and attackers don’t follow the office hours in your time zone. Many attacks come from time zones active during nighttime in Europe and the USA. This means that anomaly detection solutions (ADS) and responses must be continuous. It also means that the ADS needs to know about differing network traffic behavior patterns throughout the day. 
 

Analyze encrypted traffic with network anomaly detection:

An intelligent network anomaly detection (NBAD) solution should be able to securely decrypt traffic to inspect packet flows for threats and other risk indicators. Without putting a performance overhead on user access to applications or data. 
 

Get Real-time alerts:

Rapid response is vital to counter cybersecurity threats. This is especially true for attacks like ransomware that look to spread and encrypt many network devices. Getting prompt notification of abnormal activity on the network allows infected systems to be isolated to stop the spread of an attack. 
 

Implement a Zero Trust Security Model: 

Zero trust offers a modern approach for security that requires ongoing or multi factor verification that people and devices within your network are trustworthy. 

 

 

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