Ransomware Analysis Suggests A Bleak Future

The future of ransomware does not offer any good news, as analysis shows new tactics and advances made by its perpetrators.

According to analysis by Carbon Black’s Threat Analysis Unit of 1000 ransomware samples, researchers found that ransomware will increasingly target Linux systems and look to conduct SQL injections to infect servers and charge a higher ransom price.

The research also found that ransomware will become more targeted by looking for certain file types and targeting specific companies such as legal, healthcare and tax preparers rather than 'spray and pray' attacks we seen commonly now.

Speaking to Infosecurity, Rick McElroy, security strategist at Carbon Black, said that often, ransomware operators have support networks that “have enabled anyone to do ransomware.”

He said: “In 2018 it will be more targeted and as we learn more information we can better join the dots up.”

In terms of other future trends, Carbon Black found that ransomware will take the extra step of exfiltrating data prior to encryption, and emerge as a secondary method when initial forms of attack fail, and be used as a smokescreen to distract from other attacks.

“We have to do more to raise awareness to see the problem, not only on the way that this is to be done as a distraction, but how tools like DDoS have been used and the trend will grow,” McElroy said.

The other trends were that ransomware will be used more commonly as a false flag, as seen with NotPetya, and finally that ransomware will increasingly leverage social media to spread, enticing victims to click links.

Andrew Hay, CTO of Leo Cyber Security, told Infosecurity: “In my experience, ransomware is more opportunistic than targeted. Only after a foothold is established, and the attacker realizes a particular target is worthwhile, will it evolve into a more targeted activity.

“Spray and pray is still the preferred mechanism for ransomware.”

Infosecurity:

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