Blog posts, webinars, and guides exploring ransomware prevention tips and platform capabilities against these attacks.

The Best Mitigation Strategies for Ransomware Attacks

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

The rise of ransomware attacks can be traced back to the infamous WannaCry outbreak in 2017, a watershed moment for cybercriminals. This high-profile incident revealed the potential profitability of ransomware attacks and spurred the development of numerous variants since then.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in the recent surge of ransomware attacks. With organizations hurriedly transitioning to remote work, vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity defenses became more apparent and exploitable. Cybercriminals took advantage of these weaknesses to launch ransomware attacks, sharply increasing such incidents.

As history has shown, ransomware attacks continue to evolve and become more sophisticated in their tactics. This makes it crucial for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to understand the growing threat landscape and take proactive steps to protect their data and systems.

This blog explores the mechanisms through which ransomware is delivered, the reasons behind its alarming success rate, and effective mitigation strategies for SMBs.

How is Ransomware Delivered?

From a cybercriminal’s point of view, there are numerous ways to break into a network and encrypt its data for ransom. Stealing and holding data hostage has proven to be an effective way to extort money from organizations, so cybercriminals are increasingly utilizing this tactic.

To successfully breach a network, cybercriminals target the most vulnerable link in the security chain—the people. It is crucial for companies to prioritize employee training on cybersecurity awareness and to update and strengthen their security measures constantly.

Ransomware is often delivered through phishing emails and malicious websites. Phishing emails typically contain deceptive links or attachments that, when clicked, can install ransomware onto a victim’s device. These emails are made to appear sincere and may even impersonate trusted sources, tricking users into taking actions that compromise their security. On the other hand, malicious websites can also distribute ransomware through drive-by downloads or exploit kits. These websites can quickly infect a user’s system with ransomware by luring unsuspecting visitors to click on malicious links or download files.

Why is Ransomware so Effective?

One of the main reasons why ransomware is so effective is because it preys on peoples’ fear and urgency to regain access to their data. Many individuals and organizations rely heavily on their data for everyday operations, and the idea of losing that data can be terrifying. This fear often leads victims to pay the ransom, even though there is no guarantee that the cybercriminals will provide the decryption key once the ransom is paid.

Additionally, the speed at which ransomware operates also contributes to its effectiveness. By the time detection occurs, most files are encrypted, making it difficult to stop the attack in its tracks. Even with detection, analysts still need to look at the alerts and take the appropriate action, which can be time-consuming and may result in further data loss. This rapid encryption process adds to the sense of urgency that victims feel, pushing them to consider paying the ransom as a quick solution to regain access to their data.

Ransomware is particularly effective against SMBs because they often lack the proper resources and expertise to defend against such attacks. SMBs are also more likely to pay the ransom, as they may not have proper backups in place or the means to recover their data through other methods.

According to Adlumin’s most recent Threat Insights 2024 Volume I, the top two tactics/methods used by ransomware gangs include:

Ransomware attacks continue to be successful due to the evolving tactics employed by cybercriminals, who are now packaging their methods into more streamlined and sophisticated approaches. The two primary tactics driving the success of ransomware include double extortion and the rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), enabling easier access and increased efficiency for cybercriminals looking to exploit organizations for financial gain.

Double Extortion: In addition to encrypting an organization’s data, cybercriminals are increasingly stealing sensitive information and threatening to release it publicly unless the ransom is paid. This additional pressure increases the likelihood that victims will pay the ransom.

Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS): Some ransomware groups now offer their ransomware as a service to other cybercriminals, allowing them to distribute and deploy ransomware attacks without technical expertise efficiently. This has led to increased ransomware attacks, as more criminals can launch their own campaigns with minimal effort.

By understanding how ransomware works and the tactics used by cybercriminals, organizations can better protect themselves against these attacks and prevent falling victim to ransomware.

How SMBs Can Mitigate Ransomware Risks

To effectively mitigate ransomware risks, SMBs must educate and train employees to identify and report the signs of a potential attack. By raising awareness about suspicious emails, links, and attachments, employees become the frontline defense against ransomware infiltrations. Encouraging the use of strong, unique passwords and multi-factor authentication further bolsters security measures.

In addition to employee training, implementing a robust data backup and recovery plan is essential. Regularly backing up data to offline or secure cloud storage ensures that systems can be restored without succumbing to ransom demands.

Maintaining up-to-date patch updates, particularly through Continuous Vulnerability Management, adds another layer of security. Staying vigilant and updating systems regularly makes it more challenging for threat actors to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.

By combining these strategies, SMBs can significantly reduce their vulnerability to ransomware and protect their valuable data.

Illuminate Threats and Eliminate Risks

Last year, there was an increase of ransomware attacks at a rate of 73% totaling 4,611 cases reported. The staggering statistics on ransomware attacks highlight the critical need for heightened awareness and preparedness across all industries.

Implementing a multi-layer defense strategy and prioritizing early detection are pivotal steps in safeguarding organizations against the damaging impact of ransomware. It is imperative that organizations invest in cybersecurity measures, conduct regular training for employees, and stay vigilant against evolving threats.

By staying informed and proactive, organizations can significantly reduce the potential damage inflicted by ransomware attacks and ensure the security of their valuable data and systems.

Ransomware Readiness: Why Cybersecurity is Not Just an IT Problem

Event details:

Thursday, May 2, 2024
1:00 PM ET

Presenters:

Mark Sangster, VP, Chief of Strategy, Adlumin

About this Talk:

Sophisticated threat actors, such as ransomware gangs and state-sponsored adversaries, utilize ransomware to disrupt educational institutions and extort millions of dollars in ransoms. As these threats escalate, education leaders recognize the need to invest in cybersecurity. However, navigating the complex marketplace, acronyms, and hyperbolic promises make selecting technology and finding the right solutions challenging.

Join cybersecurity expert Mark Sangster, Vice President, Chief of Strategy, as he breaks down why cybersecurity is not just an IT problem but an agency problem.

What you will learn:

  • Why educational leaders need to grasp the organizational risks related to cybersecurity to make informed decisions.
  • How to optimize resources and programs to increase return on investment.
  • Ways to meet regulatory requirements and showcase the success of cybersecurity initiatives to stakeholders within the education sector.


Early Detection and Multi-Layered Defense Against Ransomware Attacks

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

Ransomware attacks continue to pose a serious and persistent threat, causing widespread disruption to organizations of all sizes. This underscores the critical need for proactive cybersecurity measures to stay ahead of cybercriminals.  

A recent high-profile incident involving approximately 60 Credit Unions highlighted the ongoing impact of these attacks. Many of the credit unions affected lacked adequate backup coverage and dedicated security, which serves as an example of the importance of early detection and a multi-layered defense strategy to protect valuable data from ransomware threats.  

This blog explores top methods for detecting ransomware, response strategies, and the importance of a multi-layer protection approach.   

Detecting Ransomware and The Need for Early Detection 

Ransomware protection strategies commonly focus on various stages of attack detection, as outlined by MITRE. From blocking known variants to detecting signs of compromise before execution and identifying malicious activities during the execution phase, each step plays a crucial role in preventing file encryption and data loss. Here are some top ways ransomware is detected:  

  • Blocking Ransomware Variants: Blocking known ransomware variants is common in cybersecurity defense. Organizations can proactively block known ransomware strains from executing on their systems by leveraging threat intelligence feeds and signature-based detection tools. 
  • Detecting Signs of Compromise: Detecting signs of compromise before ransomware execution is another crucial strategy in ransomware detection. Organizations can identify a ransomware attack in its early stages by monitoring for indicators of compromise (IoCs), such as unusual network traffic patterns, unauthorized access attempts, or anomalous file modifications. 
  • Detecting Ransomware at Execution Stage: Detecting ransomware at the execution stage is a critical step in mitigating the impact of an attack. Behavior-based detection techniques can monitor system activities in real-time to detect and respond to malicious behavior, including ransomware encryption processes. Organizations can identify and contain ransomware before it causes extensive damage by analyzing the behavior of processes and file system activities. 

Additionally, leveraging frameworks such as MITRE ATT&CK can provide organizations with a standardized approach to understanding ransomware tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). By mapping ransomware behaviors to the MITRE ATT&CK framework from left to right, organizations can identify gaps in their detection and response capabilities and implement targeted security measures to enhance their ransomware defense strategy.  

However, cybercriminals continually evolve their tactics, and ransomware strains emerge, hindering some security approaches. To address the shortcomings of each detection method, organizations can adopt a strategy that combines multiple layers of defense. Ransomware detection capabilities can be enhanced by integrating threat intelligence feeds with advanced behavioral analytics and proactive threat hunting, improving their overall cybersecurity posture. 

Adlumin’s Innovative Ransomware Protection Feature   

Adlumin’s Managed Detection and Response (MDR) now includes a ransomware prevention feature focused on file system preservation to combat the evolving ransomware landscape. This new capability safeguards and preserves most files by killing the process at the earliest detection sign. 

One crucial aspect of ransomware protection is proactive testing and preparedness. It is important to understand how secure your organization’s security tools are against ransomware by prioritizing testing defenses and response protocols to ensure readiness in the face of potential threats. 

Embracing a Multi-Layered Defense Approach 

Ransomware protection is a complex and challenging threat that demands a multi-layered defense approach. Early detection, proactive response strategies, secure backups, and innovative technologies like Adlumin’s Ransomware Prevention are essential to a comprehensive defense posture against attacks. By understanding the importance of early detection and implementing a multi-layered defense strategy, organizations can significantly enhance their resilience to evolving cyber threats.   

The threat of ransomware is large, but by staying informed and leveraging advanced security solutions, the risks can be mitigated, and data assets can be safeguarded. Remember, there is no single answer to ransomware protection – it requires a holistic and dynamic approach to stay ahead of cyber adversaries. With 24×7 coverage and innovative technologies, you can protect your organization against the threat of ransomware and ensure organization continuity in the face of evolving cyber risks. 

Adlumin Kills Ransomware in Seconds With New Feature That Saves 99% of Files From Encryption

Alongside New Ransomware Prevention Feature, Free Ransomware Simulation Tool Gives Any Organization the Capability to Easily Test Ransomware Defenses

WASHINGTON – April 2, 2024 –  Adlumin, the security operations command center that simplifies complexity for organizations of all sizes, today announced a new Ransomware Prevention feature that immediately detects and stops ransomware from encrypting files. In benchmark tests against malware from some of the world’s most notorious ransomware groups including Black Basta, Conti, Ryuk, NoEscapeLocker and others, Adlumin Ransomware Prevention saved, on average, 99% of the file system from encryption.

In addition, the company unveiled a free Ransomware Simulation Tool that gives organizations a self-service option to easily test and understand their vulnerability to a ransomware attack.

The threat posed by ransomware and the success of ransomware gangs climbed to new heights in 2023 with payments exceeding $1 billion for the first time. Beyond the financial impact, Ransomware has also been responsible for attacks that crippled essential services from healthcare facilities, financial institutions, local government and more, and disrupted lives and operations in every other sector of the economy.

The speed with which Adlumin detects and kills ransomware provides an added layer of protection to help stop ransomware threats at organizations that rely on Adlumin for Managed Detection and Response (MDR). This new feature adds capabilities that enable Adlumin and its partners to provide a comprehensive ransomware defense that can block ransomware, quickly kill ransomware that’s executed, take automated responsive actions to contain an attack, and assist with recovery.

“Traditional endpoint and antivirus solutions are focused on detection, but not resiliency. They strain system resources and have high rates of false positives, and by the time they act, a majority of the file system is already encrypted,” said Robert Johnston, CEO and co-founder of Adlumin. “When combatting ransomware, speed is the most important factor. Our lightweight solution is accurate and fast so we can shut down a ransomware attack in seconds.”

Adlumin’s free Ransomware Simulation Tool is a complementary offering that enables any organization to test their ransomware defenses. This self-service tool deploys mock-up data and files onto an organization’s systems, launches a ransomware attack against them, and provides a grade that details how well the organization’s defenses performed. This synthetic attack is isolated to the mock-up files, which the Adlumin tool then cleans from the file system to remove all traces of the test.

For more information, or to download and run the Ransomware Simulation Tool, visit: https://adlumin.com/tools/ransomware-attack-simulator-tool/ 

Adlumin’s Ransomware Prevention feature is now automatically enabled for all customers of Adlumin’s Managed Detection and Response services. For more information on how Adlumin MDR can keep your organization secure, visit: https://adlumin.com/platform/mdr-security/

About Adlumin
Adlumin is the security operations command center that simplifies complexity and keeps organizations of all sizes secure. Its innovative technology and seamless integrations create a feature-rich platform that includes everything a sophisticated security team needs, while empowering channel resellers, service providers and organizations of any size with the collaboration and transparency required to establish a coordinated and mature defense. Adlumin is headquartered in Washington, DC and is backed by investors including SYN Ventures, First In Ventures, Washington Harbour Partners and BankTech Ventures.

For more information, follow Adlumin on LinkedIn, X, and Facebook or visit www.adlumin.com.

Highlights from the New Threat Insights 2024 Volume I Report

Event details:

Thursday, April 18, 2024
1:00 PM ET

Presenters:

Mark Sangster, VP, Chief of Strategy, Adlumin
Kevin O’Connor, Director of Threat Research, Adlumin

About this Talk:

Explore the latest ransomware cyber-threat trends in this new research from the Adlumin Threat Research Team.

The Adlumin Threat Research Team has been dedicated to tracking and analyzing the most important cybersecurity trends, including ransomware. Keeping up to date with these threats can make the difference between a minor event and an operational shutdown.

Join Kevin O’Connor, Director of Threat Research, and our host, Mark Sangster, VP, Chief of Strategy at Adlumin as the pair reviews significant takeaways, trends, and vulnerabilities in the new Threat Insights 2024 Volume I report.

What you will learn:

  • Exclusive insights from Adlumin’s Threat Insights 2024 Volume I Report
  • Detailed analysis of emerging threat trends in cybersecurity, including the latest in ransomware attacks
  • Strategies to implement vulnerability management in your cybersecurity strategy
As a thank you for joining our webinar, we’ll send you our new Threat Insights 2024 Volume I report. Additionally, one lucky participant will receive a $200 Amazon gift card.


Additional Resources





How to Spot the Early Signs of a Ransomware Attack

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

The threat of ransomware attacks looms large over organizations of all sizes. It is predicted that ransomware will cost, in total, USD $265 billion annually by 2031, up from USD $42 billion in 2024. This serves as a reminder of the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures in staying ahead of these malicious attacks, especially when they’re predicted to arise with new challenges.  

There is hope in the form of advanced defense mechanisms that can proactively prevent and detect ransomware attacks before they cause irreparable harm. This blog explores early signs of a ransomware attack and how organizations can level up their defenses to mitigate the risk.   

How Ransomware Attacks Work 

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks a user’s access to their computer files by encrypting them. The cybercriminals demand a ransom payment in exchange for unlocking the files. This coercive tactic puts victims in a predicament where paying the ransom is often seen as the most straightforward and cost-effective way to regain access to their data. In some cases, ransomware may also involve data theft to further pressure targets into meeting the ransom demands. 

A prime example is when the MGM Resorts data breach shook the industry. This breach resulted in the personal information of more than 10.6 million guests being exposed on the dark web after the company refused to pay the ransom demanded by the cybercriminals. It was reported that MGM faced $100 million in financial losses. This incident showcases what can happen if an employee falls victim to a simple social engineering tactic via a fraudulent phone call. 

Recognizing Early Signs of a Ransomware Attack 

Being vigilant and proactive in recognizing early signs of a potential attack is crucial: 

  • Tailored and Targeted Campaigns: For example, a rise in phishing attempts, seen through an increase in spam emails, can indicate potential malware threats. This puts the entire network at risk, as an employee clicks on a malicious link or download can lead to infection. Vigilance is key in recognizing and responding to this threat promptly. 
  • Abnormal network activity: Sudden increases in traffic from unknown sources may signify unauthorized access attempting to exfiltrate data. In addition, unexpected data transfers can be a sign of ransomware encrypting files for extortion purposes. The presence of unfamiliar file extensions or files being created/modified without authorization can indicate the presence of malicious software attempting to compromise the network. 
  • Failed 2FA Authentication: Cybercriminals often try to bypass two-factor authentication to gain control and encrypt important data, leading to potential extortion demands. Monitoring and responding promptly to failed authentication attempts can help prevent the escalation of a ransomware attack and protect critical assets from being compromised. 

What is The Impact of a Ransomware Attack?  

The consequences become more severe for the targeted organization when a ransomware attack is successful. Data encryption and demands for ransom payment disrupt normal operations, leading to potential financial losses and downtime. After a successful ransomware attack, organizations may face long-lasting repercussions such as stolen assets, including intellectual property and sensitive customer information.   

The reputational damage from a data breach can cause clients and stakeholders to lose trust, impacting the organization’s standing in the industry. In addition, financial penalties for failing to secure sensitive data can add to the attack’s overall cost. 

By staying vigilant and updating defenses at the first sign of a threat, organizations can significantly reduce their exposure to ransomware attacks and safeguard their critical data and systems. 

Strengthening Ransomware Defense Mechanisms 

Implementing strong cybersecurity measures, conducting regular security assessments, and training employees on cybersecurity best practices can help amplify defenses against evolving cyber threats. Remember, early detection and quick response are key to mitigating the impact of ransomware attacks and safeguarding the integrity and resilience of your organization’s digital infrastructure. 

Embracing technologies like Adlumin’s Total Ransomware Defense and Managed Detection and Response (MDR) can provide organizations with the multi-layered protection they need to stay one step ahead of cyber threat actors. By leveraging AI and behavioral models to identify warning signs of ransomware at different attack layers, these solutions can effectively block malicious files from executing and mitigate the risk of data encryption and extortion. 

The ability of these solutions to provide automated detection updates ensures that organizations are constantly shielded from evolving ransomware variants. By staying vigilant and updating defenses at the first sign of a threat, organizations can significantly reduce their exposure to ransomware attacks and safeguard their critical data and systems. 

Stay Informed

Subscribe to Adlumin’s blog series and gain access to actionable advice and step-by-step guides from cybersecurity experts.



Watch a Live EvilGinx Demonstration to See How Cybercriminals Bypass MFA

Event details:

Thursday, March 21, 2024
1:00 PM EST

Presenters:

Mark Sangster, Chief of Strategy at Adlumin
Kevin O’Connor, Director of Threat Research

About this talk:

Cybersecurity professionals preach the power of multi-factor authentication (MFA), but what happens when a cybercriminal goes around it?

Join Adlumin’s Mark Sangster and Kevin O’Connor as they demonstrate MFA bypass techniques using EvilGinx 3. In this webinar, you’ll also see how attackers can leverage hijacked session cookies and EvilGinx phishlets to compromise user accounts and access. The pair will also dive into how to combat these attacks, along with the benefits of a fully visible network for cybersecurity.




Top 4 Cybersecurity Predictions to Be Aware of for 2024

The Adlumin Threat Research Team has peered into the future and unveiled their top predictions for the upcoming year.

With each passing year, hackers become more sophisticated and the consequences of a breach become more severe. To help organizations prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, we have compiled this list of the top four cybersecurity threats to be aware of.  

From the growing threat of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) to the increasing impact of AI tools, these predictions will arm IT Directors with the knowledge they need to protect their organization from potential risks. So, buckle up and prepare for the top four cybersecurity challenges in the new year. 

1. Increase in Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) Attacks 

Ransomware attacks have become more sophisticated, causing financial, operational, and reputational damage to businesses and organizations. RaaS refers to the model where cybercriminals offer ransomware tools and infrastructure to other hackers, who then deploy the ransomware on their behalf. This has enabled malicious actors with less sophisticated technical skills to carry out ransomware attacks, and share the profits with the original creators.

The rise in RaaS actors is alarming because it lowers the barrier to entry, making ransomware attacks accessible to a broader range of cybercriminals. This means we can anticipate a surge in ransomware attacks as more individuals and groups access these tools. This trend threatens organizations of all sizes and sectors, as no one is immune to being targeted by ransomware attacks. 

2. Shift from Data Encryption to Data Extortion Ransomware 

Ransomware has been a long-standing top cybersecurity threat, but in the new year, a shift in its tactics is predicted. Traditionally, ransomware attacks involved encrypting victims’ data and demanding a ransom for release. However, cybercriminals are expected to focus on data extortion increasingly.

This shift means threat actors will also exfiltrate sensitive information from victims’ systems and encrypt data. They will then threaten to release or sell this data if the ransom is not paid. This new approach adds an extra layer of pressure on organizations to comply with the attackers’ demands, as the exposure of sensitive data can lead to severe consequences, including reputational damage, regulatory penalties, and legal liabilities. 

3. Increased Focus on Cyberattacks Against Hospitality   

This cybersecurity threat prediction for the new year highlights the potential increased focus on attacks targeting the hospitality industry and the expected rise in the sophistication of fraud schemes. As the hospitality sector relies heavily on technology and handles a vast amount of customer data, it has become an attractive target for cybercriminals. This prediction suggests that attackers will continue to exploit vulnerabilities in hotel networks, reservation systems, point of sale (POS) terminals, and other digital platforms to steal confidential information. 

For example, the Marriot Hotel has faced multiple cybersecurity breaches over the past couple of years. Their most recent breach resulted in losing 20 gigabytes of sensitive customer and employee data including credit card information in an extortion attempt.   

4. Increased Impact from Malicious AI Tools

The increased impact of malicious AI tools on both attackers and defenders is predicted to be a major cybersecurity threat. AI technology has evolved significantly, creating a new era in cyberattacks and defense strategies. Cybercriminals leverage AI tools to amplify the scale and sophistication of their attacks, making them harder to detect and mitigate. AI-powered malware can self-propagate, adapt, and evolve, posing immense challenges to traditional cybersecurity measures.

Organizations also protect themselves by using AI tools to enhance their security capabilities. AI can help identify and analyze threats in real-time, assist in incident response, and automate cybersecurity processes. However, these AI tools can generate false positives or negatives, leading to missed or misinterpreted threats and potentially unlocking vulnerabilities.

The use of AI on both sides creates a dynamic and rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. Attackers can leverage AI algorithms for advanced evasion techniques. On the other hand, defenders have the daunting task of keeping up with AI-powered attacks while navigating through potential inaccuracies or blind spots in their AI-enabled defense systems. 

Illuminate Threats and Eliminate Risks in 2024

The threat of data breaches and ransomware attacks loom over organizations of all sizes and sectors. It’s no longer a matter of if your organization will get breached or attacked with ransomware but rather when. The harsh reality is that no system is invincible, and cybercriminals are continually finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.

While it can be challenging for IT teams to keep pace with evolving threats, innovative technology solutions and security measures are available to alleviate the strain. Organizations can automate threat detection and prevention processes by leveraging advanced security solutions like a Security Operations Platform and pairing them with Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Services, effectively mitigating the risks associated with cyber attacks.

Through the use of AI and machine learning, these solutions analyze vast amounts of data, identify anomalies, and respond to potential threats in real-time, empowering organizations to defend against cyber threats proactively.  

Stay Informed

Subscribe to Adlumin’s blog series and gain access to actionable advice and step-by-step guides from cybersecurity experts.