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Attacks/Breaches

2/22/2021
11:45 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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8 Ways Ransomware Operators Target Your Network

Security researchers explore how criminals are expanding their arsenals with new, more subtle, and more effective ransomware attack techniques.
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'Victim Vetting' Helps Attackers Boost Efficiency
Some malware operators 'scout out' a victim before deploying attack tools, researchers explain in Malwarebytes' latest 'State of Malware' report. This step helps them determine whether an attack might yield the results they want -- as researchers note, malware campaigns that result in a ransomware attack have a higher ROI if the victim is a business, not an individual consumer.
'Victim vetting' mechanisms are meant to collect data about the victim and answer questions such as:
• What domain is this endpoint connected to? 
• What is the IP address of this endpoint? 
• What applications are running on this endpoint? 
• Who are the endpoint's active users?
Attackers may also try to spread laterally or use a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) to find these and other answers, researchers say. In doing so, they can also better allocate resources used in an attack, avoid traps, and reduce their chances of being discovered.
Researchers note they observe more malware samples call home with reports about target machines. These reports then undergo manual evaluation.
'This means there is a team of people manually sorting through reports generated by the malware, prioritizing the more interesting victims, assigning special cases for a deeper dive, and performing manual recon and lateral propagation,' researchers state in the report.
(Image: Jat306 -- stock.adobe.com)

'Victim Vetting' Helps Attackers Boost Efficiency

Some malware operators "scout out" a victim before deploying attack tools, researchers explain in Malwarebytes' latest "State of Malware" report. This step helps them determine whether an attack might yield the results they want -- as researchers note, malware campaigns that result in a ransomware attack have a higher ROI if the victim is a business, not an individual consumer.

"Victim vetting" mechanisms are meant to collect data about the victim and answer questions such as:

• What domain is this endpoint connected to?
• What is the IP address of this endpoint?
• What applications are running on this endpoint?
• Who are the endpoint's active users?

Attackers may also try to spread laterally or use a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) to find these and other answers, researchers say. In doing so, they can also better allocate resources used in an attack, avoid traps, and reduce their chances of being discovered.

Researchers note they observe more malware samples call home with reports about target machines. These reports then undergo manual evaluation.

"This means there is a team of people manually sorting through reports generated by the malware, prioritizing the more interesting victims, assigning special cases for a deeper dive, and performing manual recon and lateral propagation," researchers state in the report.

(Image: Jat306 -- stock.adobe.com)

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