Ransomware attacks are malicious activities conducted by cybercriminals or ransomware groups with the aim of encrypting a victim's data and demanding payment, usually in cryptocurrency, in exchange for the decryption key.
These attacks have become increasingly sophisticated over time, and ransomware groups employ various tactics to maximize their impact. Here are some types of attacks that ransomware groups commonly carry out:
1. Phishing Attacks: Emails: Ransomware groups often use phishing emails to deliver malicious attachments or links. These emails may appear legitimate and often contain urgent messages or seemingly important information to trick recipients into clicking on the malicious links or downloading infected attachments.
2. Malicious Websites: Ransomware can be distributed through compromised or malicious websites. Visitors may unknowingly download malware onto their systems through drive-by downloads or by clicking on malicious advertisements.
3. Exploit Kits: Ransomware groups may exploit vulnerabilities in software or operating systems using exploit kits. These kits target known vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised access to a system, making it easier for the attackers to install and execute ransomware.
4. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Attacks: Cybercriminals may exploit weak or compromised RDP credentials to gain unauthorised access to a network. Once inside, they can deploy ransomware across multiple systems and servers, causing widespread damage.
5. Brute Force Attacks: Ransomware operators may employ brute force attacks to crack weak passwords and gain access to a network or specific systems. Once inside, they can initiate the ransomware infection process.
6. Watering Hole Attacks: In watering hole attacks, ransomware groups compromise websites that are commonly visited by their target audience. By injecting malicious code into these websites, they can infect the visitors' systems when they browse the compromised site.
7. Fileless Ransomware: Some advanced ransomware strains use fileless techniques, avoiding traditional file-based methods. These attacks operate in the system's memory, making them harder to detect and allowing them to persist in the system for an extended period.
8. Double Extortion: In a double extortion strategy, ransomware groups not only encrypt the victim's data but also exfiltrate sensitive information. They threaten to release this data publicly unless the ransom is paid, adding an extra layer of pressure on the victim.
9. Supply Chain Attacks: Ransomware groups may target third-party vendors or service providers that have access to their ultimate target's network. By compromising the supply chain, attackers can gain entry to more secure environments.
It's crucial for individuals and organizations to implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as regular software updates, employee training, and data backups, to mitigate the risk of falling victim to ransomware attacks. Additionally, having a comprehensive incident response plan in place is essential to minimise the impact of an attack if it occurs.