The Anatomy of Ransomware: Comprehensive Insights into Fundamentals and Variants

Ransomware is a type of malware attack in which the attacker locks and encrypts the victim’s data, and important files and then demands a payment to unlock and decrypt the data.

This attack takes advantage of human, system, network, and software vulnerabilities to infect the victim’s device—a computer, printer, smartphone, wearable, point-of-sale (POS) terminal, or other endpoint.

Through ransom attacks, cybercriminals are generating billions of dollars and inflicting significant damage and expenses for businesses and governmental organizations.

How Does Ransomware Work?

After a device is exposed to the malicious code, the ransomware attack proceeds as follows.

Ransomware can remain dormant on a device until the device is at its most vulnerable, and only then execute an attack.

Ransomware seven-stage attack:

  1. Infection—Ransomware is covertly downloaded and installed on the device.
  2. Execution—Ransomware scans and maps locations for targeted file types, including locally stored files and mapped and unmapped network-accessible systems.
  3. Encryption—Ransomware performs a key exchange with the Command and Control Server, using the encryption key to scramble all files discovered during the Execution step. It also locks access to the data.
  4. User Notification—Ransomware adds instruction files detailing the pay-for-decryption process, then uses those files to display a ransom note to the user.
  5. Cleanup—Ransomware usually terminates and deletes itself, leaving only the payment instruction files.
  6. Payment—The victim clicks a link in the payment instructions, which takes the victim to a web page with additional information on how to make the required payment.
  7. Decryption—After the victim pays the ransom, usually via the attacker’s Bitcoin address, the victim may receive the decryption key. However, there is no guarantee the decryption key will be delivered as promised.

What Are the Different Types of Ransomware?

The most common types include:

Encryptors are one of the most well-known and damaging variants. This type encrypts the files and data within a system, making the content inaccessible without a decryption key.

Lockers completely lock out the system, so the files and applications are inaccessible. A lock screen displays the ransom demand, possibly with a countdown clock to increase urgency and drive victims to act.

Scareware is fake software that claims to have detected a virus or other issue on the computer and directs the user to pay to resolve the problem.

Leakware threatens to distribute sensitive personal or company information online, and many people panic and pay the ransom to prevent private data from falling into the wrong hands.

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) refers to malware hosted anonymously by a “professional” hacker that handles all aspects of the attack, from distributing ransomware to collecting payments and restoring access, in return for a cut of the loot.

The Anatomy of Ransomware: Comprehensive Insights into Fundamentals and Variants

Ransomware Attack Prevention:

For ransomware security and to mitigate damage, it’s important to use a reliable cyber security solution, as ransomware attacks have nowadays become increasingly common and sophisticated. Without proper cybersecurity solutions, organizations are left vulnerable to these attacks, which can result in significant financial and reputational damage.  Network Fort Solution also works as a ransomware attack solution, and provides advanced threat detection, ensuring maximum security. NetworkFort employs AI algorithms and a Machine Learning approach to identify crucial cyber threats in their earliest stages. Using behavioral predictive analytics, NetworkFort prevents any intruder from getting into the network and blocks access to the gateway.

So contact us today for further details about our solution and to save your organization from possible damage.

The Anatomy of Ransomware: Comprehensive Insights into Fundamentals and Variants