SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

From ransomware to RansomOps: Why the ‘new kid on the block’ spells trouble for the unprepared enterprise

By Contributor
Thu 7 Oct 2021

Article by Vectra director of security engineering for APJ Chris Fisher.


Ransomware has become a prolific and challenging problem for organisations across every industry in the APAC region. 

The average cost of remediating a ransomware attack has grown by more than US$1 million, with remediation costs, including business downtime, lost orders, operational costs and more, increasing from an average of US$1.16 million in 2020 to US$2.34 million in 2021. In fact, APAC organisations are 80% more likely than the global average to be the target of a cyber-attack. 

The Gartner 2021 CIO Agenda Survey found that CIOs in Australia and New Zealand are recognising the need to address cybersecurity, with 67% of respondents in A/NZ increasing investment in information security — second only to business intelligence and data analytics (73%).

It’s not only the propensity but the nature of the attacks that must be addressed as more cyber-criminals target customers and supply chains. Robust cybersecurity systems and solutions must be put in place — to not only protect data but entire business operations.
 

From traditional ransomware to RansomOps

Driven by the desire for greater monetary gain, ransomware groups have changed their model and behaviour, acting more like SaaS vendor organisations than unorganised cyber-criminals of the past. 

In 2021, driven, collaborative groups have launched sophisticated attacks on specific targets. Instead of sending out technology in a mass, automated sweep, these groups act similarly to the technology company itself, so they can operationalise attacks and monetise as much as possible.

Today's ransomware works as a double extortion, where the group will first extract critical data and access details and then encrypt and ransom their target. There’s the crew that build the technology, those with affiliates designed to target the chosen company or victims, and the affiliates that will target and infiltrate the victims. This is the process of the big names that make headlines, such as DarkSide and REvil.

Cyber-criminals engaged in RansomOps attacks put a human in the driver’s seat and use a platform of tools to make their way to the final stages. RansomOps groups deliberately work to understand the network and infrastructure so they can evade or disable them. 

They use automation and affiliates to work through the environments, taking advantage of credentials rather than vulnerabilities. All of this helps to accelerate their movement inside an organisation and to hide their tracks. 

They can also move incredibly quickly. The average time that a RansomOps crew spends inside an organisation is very short — most attackers usually sit between 50 to 280 days in an organisation, while these ransomware crews are typically done and dusted in 30 days.

These attacks no longer rely on automated malware alone and consequently aren’t nearly as predictable. Often, teams don’t see it until it’s too late. As a result, teams must isolate the attackers as fast as possible before the malware surfaces. 

If this is to happen successfully, a mindset shift is needed. 


Stopping modern-day ransomware – visibility and control

Gaining visibility over networks, implementing proper controls, and understanding how RansomOps Groups function will help to adequately protect organisations against these attacks.

How quickly we can identify and respond to attackers will come down to whether teams have visibility of an environment and the appropriate controls in place. Attackers still tend to operate and move through environments in a set way, so security teams can leverage this knowledge to identify a breach early on. 

In the past, a lot of work has been done on perimeter-based defences for networks. However, now the perimeter is basically dissolved as businesses adopt more solutions such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

In addition, attackers are using novel ways to move around a network — for instance, using credentials that exist on the network, granting them access. This means the attack doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary because it’s a legitimate user account connecting to a legitimate service.

Overall, many still think critical assets are assets that may house data, but that’s not how the attacker views an environment. They look at any assets that give enough of a foothold to do the job.

As a result, defenders must treat everything equally to make sure they can identify whether an attacker is coming in. They must look at what a company’s data center is, how it interacts with IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, and how an attacker could move laterally through all of that. 
 

The way forward: best security practices for 2021

We can’t defend what we can’t see; therefore, change begins with visibility. When teams have a clear view of all assets and treat them equally, then they are much closer to stopping attacks in their tracks.

Moving forward, to be prepared, organisations must make sure that they can identify breaches quickly. This means regularly engaging in rigorous exercises that look at security controls, the processes and procedures in place, and identifying any gaps. 

This may be uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. Be sure to patch well and diligently and run the latest security software with a strong security strategy on the network and endpoint. 

With a technology partner specialising in threat detection and response, organisations can break everything down to very detailed attack phases, and implement better exfiltration. 

They can further break this down into specific behaviours in those phases to identify what could potentially be a ransomware incident early on and ensure business as usual.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Malware
Avast One extends protection with Online Safety Score
Avast One has extended its cross-platform support by adding its Online Safety Score feature to both the Mac and iOS platforms of Avast One.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Palo Alto Networks responds to rise in threats with MDR service
Unit 42 Managed Detection and Response is a new service that can offer continuous 24/7 threat detection, investigation and response.
Story image
Web application firewall
Radware recognised in KuppingerCole’s 2022 Leadership Compass report
Radware has been named a Product, Innovation, Market and Overall Leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Web Application Firewalls.
Story image
Malware
Research shows attacks on the gaming industry are getting worse
Web application attacks in the gaming sector have grown by 167% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, according to new research from Akamai.
Story image
Data Protection
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Alexey Pinchuk joins us today to discuss the role the company plays in helping organisations manage risk and provide better security outcomes.
Story image
Ransomware
Majority of execs in SEA anticipate ransomware attacks
Kaspersky's study uncovers that more than half believe a ransomware attack against their business is too small to worry about.
Story image
Radware
Good or bad - answer these questions to check application visibility
With the adoption of the hybrid cloud, applications now run in multiple private and public cloud environments managed by different teams and tools.
Story image
Mobile Device Management / MDM
Claroty's Team82 uncovers two vulnerabilities in FileWave’s MDM system
Claroty’s research arm (Team82) has uncovered and disclosed two critical vulnerabilities in FileWave’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) system.
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
AWS Marketplace
Watch this webinar to gain building blocks for data mesh, and how AWS customers today are successfully enabling domain driven data.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
FirstWave responds to SMB demand for better cybersecurity
FirstWave developed the CyberCision Open Security Management Platform to respond to SMBs 'urgent' need for comprehensive cyber protection.
Story image
Ransomware
Ivanti and SentinelOne partner on patch management solution
Ivanti and SentinelOne will integrate their technologies Ivanti Neurons for Patch Management and SentinelOne's Singularity XDR platform.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than a fifth of cybersecurity teams ban the use of public WiFi
Verizon’s fifth annual Mobile Security Index report has revealed a continued rise in significant cyberattacks in the last year involving a mobile/IoT device.
Story image
Cloud
Fortinet unveils built-in-the-cloud security offering
Fortinet has released FortiCNP, a new built-in-the-cloud offering that correlates security findings across an organisation’s cloud footprint to provide friction-free cloud security operations.
Story image
Check Point
Ransomware now impacts 1 out of 40 organisations a week
Retailers and the wholesale sector saw the largest spike in ransomware attacks, with an alarming increase of 182%.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
CrowdStrike extends CNAPP capabilities to enable modernisation
CrowdStrike has announced new Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) capabilities that build on its agent-based and agentless approach.
Story image
Infrastructure
Rimini Street announces new suite of security solutions for enterprises
Rimini Street has announced the launch of Rimini Protect, a new suite of security solutions set to provide a more comprehensive layer of security.
Story image
Data Protection
CyberRes partners with Google Cloud in lead up to BigQuery release
CyberRes, a Micro Focus line of business, has announced a partnership with Google Cloud to support the upcoming release of BigQuery remote functions.
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Ransomware
Malicious insiders still a key threat to business security
A new ransomware report from Gigamon has revealed that one in three organisations see malicious insiders as a route for ransomware attacks.
Story image
Palo Alto Networks
New study reveals opportunistic behaviour of cyber criminals
"Ransomware attackers are also becoming more organised [...] as they engage with cyber criminals and the victimised organisations."
Story image
Security vulnerabilities
Flashpoint says vulnerability disclosure ‘highly volatile’
Flashpoint has released The State of Vulnerability Intelligence: 2022 Midyear Edition, finding that the current state of the vulnerability disclosure landscape is ‘highly volatile’.
Story image
Cloud Security
Snyk launches cloud security solution for DevSecOps teams
“Snyk’s developer-first approach disrupted the application security industry and we're now aiming to apply many of those lessons to cloud security."
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Sapporo City selects Nutanix Cloud Clusters on AWS
The city first used a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution from Nutanix to modernize and improve the efficiency of its on-premise datacenter.
Story image
Gartner
Veeam named Leader in enterprise backup and recovery
"We believe our innovation and ability to execute validates our solid standing as the #1 trusted provider of modern data protection."
Story image
KICKS CREW
KICKS CREW selects Forter to help scale global eCommerce operations
KICKS CREW has selected Forter to help scale its global digital commerce operations.
Story image
API
Security gaps in APIs plague organisations - study
Together, the findings highlight that existing solutions and API security tactics focused on shift-left strategies are failing to adequately protect APIs.
Story image
Healthcare
Why the Metaverse could be the key to enhancing the healthcare sector
The experts at Accenture understand that the programmable world is about building the next version of the physical world in healthcare, understanding complex layers in order to fully utilise technology to its maximum effect.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Runecast's award-winning platform future-proofs businesses
Runecast provides both security and operations teams with what a few industry experts have called a 'must-have' solution.
Story image
Malware
Nozomi Networks Labs identifies impacts on 2022 threat landscape
Nozomi Networks’ latest research finds that wiper malware, IoT botnet activity, and the Russia/Ukraine war have had the biggest impact on the threat landscape in 2022 so far.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
Netskope acquires Infiot, delivers integrated SASE platform
Converged SASE platform provides AI-driven zero trust security and simplified, optimised connectivity to any network location or device, including IoT.
Story image
Phishing
Phishing, software vulnerabilities cause 70% of cyber incidents
The heavy use of software vulnerabilities matches the opportunistic behaviour of threat actors who scour the internet for vulnerabilities and weak points.
Story image
Indusface
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.
Story image
Rubrik
Gartner names Rubrik Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Rubrik has been positioned by Gartner as a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions.
Story image
Ransomware
Manufacturing industry hard hit by ransomware, Akamai finds
Akamai Technologies has revealed that nearly 30% of ransomware attacks worldwide launched by Conti targeted the manufacturing industry.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Qualys develops EASM capabilities for Cloud Platform
"Qualys unique approach to EASM is integrating the internal and external asset data from CyberSecurity Attack Management with its VMDR solution into a single view."
Story image
Healthcare
SOTI research explores professional's thoughts on digitisation in the healthcare sector
Interconnectivity, automation and data management were the three key trends highlighted in the report as integral parts of successful medical technology implementation.
Story image
Identity
Delinea report finds organisations are struggling to grasp identity-related security
New research from Delinea has found that 84% of organisations, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, have experienced an identity-related security breach in the past 18 months.
AWS Marketplace
See how managed security services (MSS) have evolved to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR). Learn how these new holistic solutions can simplify security management and improve your threat detection and response.
Link image
Story image
SAP
Microsoft unveils two new security products to help reduce attack surfaces
The products are set to give companies deeper insights into threat actor activity and help them successfully navigate the changing threat landscape.