Beyond Email: 5 Alternative Ways to Fall Victim to Ransomware

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Cloud Applications as Ransomware Delivery Platform

Popular cloud applications can easily be leveraged by attackers to spread ransomware and other dangerous content to organizations. Most cloud app users aren't aware that a file stored in a cloud application that is shared through a URL can be opened by interacting with the cloud app itself, or by automatically downloading the file once the URL is opened in the browser. For example, recent research produced by the Blue Coat and Elastica Cloud Threat Labs discovered that cybercriminals used a popular file sharing app to deliver the notorious ransomware Petya to end users by abusing a commonly used function. If an attacker shares a file containing ransomware with an end user, they can force the end user to automatically download the ransomware. Adding to the magnitude of the threat, once downloaded, there is also the possibility that the ransomware could spread automatically across the victim's organization.

Ransomware, without a doubt, is dominating the cyber-threat landscape by holding critical systems and data hostage in industries ranging from health care and finance to government and energy. Ransomware is a class of malware that, when distributed to a system, renders victims' systems unusable by encrypting computers and data or by locking applications. The attacker's goal is to blackmail the victim into paying a ransom in exchange for decryption keys, allowing them to regain control of their systems and data.

Most information and reports about ransomware, however, have focused on phishing as a conduit for ransomware delivery and often overlook other distribution methods in use. Attackers are becoming craftier with their methods to spread malware that encrypts files and locks data, blindsiding victims before they even realize they have been attacked.

So while organizations and individuals are performing everyday tasks – like running their businesses in the cloud and using social media – alternative ways to receive ransomware, which don't require victims to open a phishing email, also pose a serious threat. In this slideshow, Aditya Sood, PhD., director of security and Elastica Cloud Threat Labs at Blue Coat, discusses five alternative ways that organizations can fall victim to ransomware and offers advice on how they can protect themselves.


Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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