Likely Stages of a Ransomware Attack
Cyber attacks aren’t going away, and ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace. It can be devastating for businesses, as it can cause data loss and disruption to operations until the ransom is paid. Understanding how ransomware works and the stages it goes through can help businesses protect themselves against this type of attack.
Here are the stages of a ransomware attack.
The first stage of a ransomware attack is the delivery stage. This is where the malicious software is delivered to the target computer or network.
This can be done through phishing emails, malicious websites, or direct downloads from untrusted sources. The delivery method will vary depending on the attacker’s goals and the target.
A typical example, however, is the delivery of malicious software in emails that appear to come from trusted sources but contain a malicious attachment or link. The email may appear to be an invoice, job offer, receipt, etc., and when opened it will launch the ransomware code.
The second stage of a ransomware attack is execution. This is when the malicious code is executed on the target device or network, and it begins encrypting files. The ransomware will typically begin by searching for certain file types to encrypt, such as documents, images, and videos.
The attacker may also attempt to gain access to other computers or networks; also known as propagation. This is when the malicious code spreads to other devices or networks on the same network through file sharing, email accounts, web browsers, and even printer networks.
The next stage of a ransomware attack is extortion. This is when the attacker demands payment in order to unlock the encrypted files. The attacker may also threaten to delete or release sensitive information if their demands are not met.
The ransom may be requested in various forms such as cryptocurrency, gift cards, or prepaid cash cards.
In some cases, the attacker may offer a “decryption key” or provide instructions on how to decrypt the files without paying the ransom. However, this should be viewed with extreme caution as it could be part of an elaborate scam.
At this stage negotiation is possible and advisable as ransomware negotiation professionals may be able to negotiate with the attacker for a lower ransom.
The final stage of a ransomware attack is typically remediation. This is when the target takes steps to mitigate the damage caused by the attack. An important step is to restore the encrypted files from backups or other sources. You also want to change any passwords that may have been compromised.
The target should also look at its security posture and implement measures such as patching, anti-virus software, and firewalls. It’s also important to ensure that all users are educated on the risks associated with ransomware and other cyber threats. Finally, it’s a good idea to notify law enforcement so that they can take action to bring the attackers to justice.
Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common, and it’s important for businesses to take the necessary steps to protect their systems and data. By following the stages outlined in this article, you can better prepare yourself for a ransomware attack and ensure that you can recover quickly and effectively.