Security researchers at Avira have recently discovered versions of ransomware being replaced with harmless, dummy files.
It appears that white hat activists have recently accessed one of the command and control servers and replaced the infamous Locky ransomware with a dummy file deemed ‘Stupid Locky’.
This news is somewhat promising given Kaspersky Lab’s recent findings from Q1 of this year. Kaspersky found that the number of individuals being hit by ransomware attacks has increased nearly 30% in the first three months of this year.
In addition, the firm prevented more than over 370,000 ransomware attacks on users in Q1, 17% of which were directly aimed at the corporate sector.
While the disastrous Locky ransomware was found in over 114 countries, Teslacrypt (58%), CTB-Locker (24%), and Cryptowall (3%) took the top three spots for the highest number of infections.
Security experts have reason to believe this spike in ransomware attacks is due in part to the simplistic business model these criminals follow. Once you’re attacked, there’s really no way of getting out of losing your personal data. And since the ransom payment is sent through bitcoin, the anonymousness aspect makes this wave of crime even more attractive to criminals.
Chief Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab, Aleks Gostev, claims, “Another threatening trend is the Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model where cyber criminals pay a fee for the propagation of malware or promise a percentage of the ransom paid by an infected user.”
While ransomware has generally been spread through spam email, hackers have been spotted seeding legitimate web pages with malicious code, taking advantage of unpatched software and outdated computers of its victims’.
NNT’s CTO- Mark Kedgley, advises, “A two-pronged approach is the only way to defend against ransomware attacks- get layered defenses in place, but also back it up with real-time host intrusion detection through File Integrity Monitoring, ensuring that if a cyber-attack proves successful, at the very least you get to know about it.”