Firstly, What is Randsomeware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to the victim’s data or threatens to publish or delete it until a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as Ukash and Bitcoin are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that is disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading, or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high profile example, the “WannaCry worm”, traveled automatically between computers without user interaction. Advanced Ransomware can include functionality like Data Corruption, Exfiltration and Disruption Top Trending Ransomwares
May 12th 2017 saw the biggest ever cyber attack in Internet history (yes, bigger than the Dyn DDoS). A ransomware named WannaCry stormed through the web, with the damage epicenter being in Europe.
WannaCry leveraged a vulnerability in Windows OS, first discovered by the NSA, and then publicly revealed to the world by the Shadow Brokers.
In the first few hours, 200,000 machines were infected. Big organizations such as Renault or the NHS were struck and crippled by the attack.
But this massive wave wasn’t the only one. A few weeks later, a ransomware strain resembling Petya started spreading around Europe, affecting companies, Ukrainian institutions and banks, and even the even the radiation monitoring system at Chernobyl.
Ransomware has been a growing trend for the past two years, and this is just a culmination, a grand reveal to the wider world of just how big of a threat it is. But we’ve been writing about this for a while now.