Looking To Prevent Ransomware? Lock Down These Initial Access Methods First — Security Today | #ransomware | #cybercrime

Looking To Prevent Ransomware? Lock Down These Initial Access Methods First

Nearly three-quarters of all cyberattacks involve ransomware which means a majority of defenders are failing to detect ransomware successfully. The fact is, ransomware isn’t the first stage of the attack, it’s often the last stage; and cyberattacks usually get labeled or categorized as ransomware when data is encrypted or stolen and a ransom is demanded by cybercriminals.

The key to ransomware prevention isn’t discovering methods and tools that help defend against ransomware, which should be part of your ransomware recovery strategy. True ransomware prevention lies in identifying and cracking down on methods of initial access that ransomware operators abuse to get ransomware into the victim’s environment.

Key Initial Access Methods That Lead To A Ransomware Infection

Listed below are some of the most common vectors of initial access used by ransomware attackers:

Social Engineering

Most ransomware attacks start with a phishing email, a malware-laden attachment, link to a malicious website, etc. Victims are social-engineered or tricked into running a malicious program that infects their device, Ransomware groups are evolving their social engineering tactics faster than they are innovating technology to thwart victim networks

Unpatched Software

Threat actors are actively searching the internet for weaknesses in software code and zero-day exploits to break into their targets. More than 76% of vulnerabilities discovered between 2010 and 2019 are still being exploited by ransomware. In 2022, there were about 344 vulnerabilities that could be directly associated with ransomware and this number is growing approximately 19% year over year.

Password Guessing Or Cracking

Why break down windows when you can walk through the door? Threat actors are always looking for ways to steal or hijack user credentials so they can circumvent formal security controls and procedures. They do so by phishing people (creating fake login pages and getting them to enter credentials), by brute forcing passwords or by acquiring credentials from the dark web, of which there are only 24 billion.

Remote Access Services

Remote services such as VPN and remote desktop protocol (RDP) help attackers gain access to victim environments, elevate system access and install malware remotely. It’s worth noting that credentials are a prerequisite to hijacking remote access services and therefore, attackers will again phish users or brute-force RDP logins to breach access. There’s also been a surge in the selling of stolen VPN and RDP credentials on underground forums from a handful of initial access brokers.

Unintentional And Intentional Insider Threats

A quarter of all breaches in 2022 can be attributed to social engineering. When you add human error, misconfigurations and misuse of privileged access, the human element accounts for nearly 82% of all breaches. Attackers are known to leverage poor user practices as a means of delivering ransomware payloads to their targets. In some cases, attackers will even go the extra mile of bribing people. For example, the LAPSUSS ransomware gang famously offered $20,000 bribes to employees working inside of leading tech companies.

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