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Ransomware-as-a-Service is Skyrocketing

By Elliot Anderson  |  August 15, 2023

No matter what business you are in, it’s likely you view ransomware as one of the top cyber threats today. Adversaries are adapting and morphing their harmful techniques to better evade detection and infect a wider set of targets. As a result, ransomware has skyrocketed in the past two years, according to Cofense. Ransomware losses in 2020 are estimated at $1.4 billion in the U.S. alone, covering downtime, lost wages, and customer defections.

Targeted spear-phishing attacks continue to be one of the most common ways to inject malware into a victim’s network and systems. REvil, Emotet, Locky, Ryuk, Conti, and HAFNIUM are just a few examples of the most prolific and dangerous ransomware types in the news. Hundreds, if not thousands, of variants now exist on the criminal underground thanks to Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). RaaS is skyrocketing because it’s lucrative for cyber criminals and doesn’t require advanced skills, according to Forrester Research. Newer ransomware campaigns can include crippling extortion demands that threaten to publicly release sensitive information such as client lawsuit data or patient healthcare procedure files if ransoms go unpaid.

Adversaries are increasingly targeting small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that often do not have the staff or skills to defend themselves. Hackers know that many smaller firms might not survive a ransomware attack and therefore might feel more pressure to avoid the downtime by paying a ransom. SMBs without robust cybersecurity staff and expertise are increasingly teaming up with IT Service Providers for holistic cybersecurity coverage. Continuous monitoring, advanced threat detection, and integration with existing security tools and platforms can improve cybersecurity resilience – ensuring you’re prepared to fight ransomware.

How SOC-as-a-Service Detects Ransomware

Advanced threats require more advanced technology, greater talent, and more diligent incident management than in years past. Instead of developing a Security Operations Center (SOC) on your own with finite time and funds, SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS) enables you to get started quickly with minimal investment. With SOCaaS, you receive the SOC “function” as a service. Not just the software, but also the people in the form of dedicated cybersecurity experts, the proven processes, and the SIEM platform needed to perform the network and endpoint threat monitoring, prevention, detection, and response for your organization.

Attackers are evolving their craft and so should you. SOCaaS enables IT teams to effectively address the evolving threat of ransomware with these best practices:

  • Predict attack vectors and find vulnerabilities: Legacy perimeter security like firewalls and anti-virus tools are no match against ransomware and well-funded adversaries looking for lucrative financial gain. SMBs are at risk if they have legacy applications or equipment, don’t think like an attacker and use Vulnerability Management, fail to patch vulnerabilities regularly, leave gaps in their data backup plans, or their cybersecurity posture is still evolving. A layered defense is critical to stop multi-pronged threats like ransomware that can gain access, move laterally within the organization, and even extract data for cyber criminals to release publicly if the ransom isn’t paid.
  • Prevent any threat, anywhere, in zero-time: Legacy anti-virus and anti-malware products are insufficient against today’s sophisticated cyber criminals. Ideally integrated with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) for optimal protection, managed endpoint protection goes beyond traditional defenses to block and isolate infected workstations from the rest of the network until you can remediate them. Modern malware, including ransomware, copies itself with different names and hashes to various folders, so that if the original is identified and removed, the clones remain dormant but ready to attack later when you least expect it.
  • Detect attacks and suspicious behavior faster: A SIEM platform ingests and correlates network and security logs to identify suspicious activity for additional investigation. A SIEM solution can identify hidden EXE and DLL files that have never executed. As a result, copies of malware and ransomware variants can be removed from the network, preventing re-infection or propagation. When combined, SIEM and User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) work together to baseline standard user behavior and pinpoint suspicious activity. File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) is also useful to detect if files have changed, which may signify a loss of data integrity and potential data theft or exfiltration.
  • Respond to incidents and threats fast and effectively:  Comprehensive monitoring of an organization’s infrastructure, user behavior, and sensitive data reduces cybersecurity risk and minimizes hacker dwell time. A single console with all the data and needed reports saves analyst time and increases productivity. Many enterprises do not have the staff or skills for 24/7 eyes-on-glass monitoring. SOCaaS increases visibility, filters out false alarms, and develops remediation recommendations for a quick respond to cyber criminals.

Key Takeaways

No organization or government entity is immune from ransomware. It is crucial for SMBs and service providers to minimize the risk and cost of advanced malware and ransomware. With SOCaaS, you can focus your IT and cybersecurity staff on running day-to-day security operations, knowing that the likelihood of advanced attacks is minimized.

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is the foundation for comprehensive cybersecurity monitoring. SOCaaS provides many benefits to IT service providers, such as optimizing existing staff and capabilities, and expanding offerings in a scalable way without the risk of capital investment and hiring hard-to-find security experts. With its 24/7 SOC, Netsurion’s Managed Threat Protection offers advanced threat protection such as ransomware mitigation and helps your cybersecurity posture with simplicity… all with less risk and financial investment.

By Elliot Anderson
Ransomware-as-a-Service is Skyrocketing

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