Chris Swagler | August 24th, 2022

Ransomware attacks continue to rule the news headlines with groups, including Lapsus$ and Conti, constantly appearing in alarming stories. Cybersecurity professionals are persistently on the lookout for new ransomware attacks and developments. Attacks using ransomware have emerged as the most efficient way for cybercriminals to acquire and use extremely sensitive data for monetary gains.

Ransomware Attacks are Due to These Main Factors

Compromised Credentials

The most frequent method of stealing data is by compromising passwords. 81% of all cybercrimes start with stolen or cracked credentials, making this a major vulnerability for all companies. People can never really know the real identity behind a username and password. When acquiring access to a system, device, or network, threat operators will target both weak and already compromised passwords.

Solution – Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) methods and more robust antivirus protection, along with maintaining smarter password practices elsewhere, is one of the best ways to keep people’s information secure. MFA can defend against upwards of 99% of all intrusion attempts.

Vulnerabilities in Applications

One major incident exploiting application vulnerabilities was the REvil ransomware digital supply chain compromise in July 2021. The incident involved the ransomware group distributing malware to thousands of supply chain partner companies by exploiting vulnerabilities in a public-facing internet application. The PrintNightmare vulnerability, which affected the Microsoft Windows Print Spooler Service, was equally dangerous. Threat operators had the potential to control compromised computers. These kinds of application zero-day vulnerabilities are a prime vector that ransomware groups are utilizing.

Solution – Every online company needs to place a high priority on patch management. The key to locating vulnerabilities that are most likely to be exploited and taking rapid action is risk-based vulnerability management. Companies experiencing issues with vulnerability management can switch to fully managed service providers (MSPs). MSPs manage the digital risks for client organizations, often on a 24/7 basis.

Human Factor

It’s not a surprise that most recent data breaches included a human element. According to a data breach investigations report, more than 80% of data breaches resulted from human error, social attacks, misuse of technology, or a combination of the three. Just because threat operators gain access to companies’ systems doesn’t indicate that there were network security problems. People clicking on malicious URLs or sharing sensitive information in public places are more likely.

Solution – Companies need to take action to educate themselves and their workers about several techniques threat actors employ to obtain sensitive information. Consistent and continuous employee training is crucial.

Phishing

Cybercriminals utilize phishing emails that appear to be from clients, business partners, or other known contacts to launch ransomware attacks. According to reports, 99% of email attacks require human intervention to be successful, making phishing attacks the most important factor in malicious breaching campaigns.

Solution – If companies are looking to boost or improve their cybersecurity programs, they can start by:

Botnets

A botnet is a cyberattack tool allowing threat operators to control numerous computers and devices connected to the internet and infect them with malware. The command-and-control server can remotely control the devices’ networks by sending instructions to the group. Some ransomware threats, including those from the Conti group, have used botnets as initial access points.

Solution

Companies need not fight alone when it comes to viruses, bots, spam, and all unwanted software they can’t control. Installing measures on all application systems and network equipment is the best strategy in preventing ransomware attacks because they protect networks from damage before threat operators can infect them. The Web Application Firewall (WAF) is one solution for keeping websites or apps from being infected by malware or other cyber threats. A fully managed WAF is designed to defend web applications from various vulnerabilities that scanners may not detect effectively and verify site visitors are human, not machines.

Ransomware groups are always looking to develop new methods and techniques to outsmart outdated security solutions. It’s important for innovative companies to remain alert to the current threat landscape and partner with a cybersecurity company with more advanced technical solutions to defend users, clients, and companies.

At SpearTip, we handle companies’ cyber incident response following a serious breach and help them get back up and running in record time. Our certified engineers work continuously in an investigative cycle at our 24/7/365 Security Operations Center monitoring potential ransomware threats. The ShadowSpear Platform, our cutting-edge all-in-one solution resource, uses comprehensive insights through unparalleled data normalization to detect advanced ransomware threats.

If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.