Beyond Email: 5 Alternative Ways to Fall Victim to Ransomware

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Ransomware Distribution via Infected USB Drives

A ransomware identified as CryptoLocker is a good example of this. It has modified itself from a Trojan into what has been called a "USB-spreading worm" – a tactic used to spread the CryptoLocker ransomware to multiple computers via an infected USB drive. As a worm, the ransomware can spread through flash drives. For example, if an individual borrows a USB drive from a co-worker and if that drive was infected with the CryptoLocker worm, then any computer that the USB drive comes in contact with will also be infected. This is especially dangerous if that computer is also connected to a network, potentially enabling the ransomware to infect an entire organization. CryptoLocker can also compromise the cloud in this scenario. Once a system is infected with ransomware via an agent drive, the files on those locally installed cloud drives can be encrypted as well. When a cloud service performs a normal sync, the files are then uploaded as encrypted files, replacing the healthy files.

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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