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Ransomware attacks surged in June, new strains identified

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene)

Ransomware attacks were on the rise in June, with old strains enjoying a resurgence and new varieties emerging, according to a report from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint.

According to the firm, the new campaigns identified differ slightly from what the industry is used to seeing. Malware is being distributed as a first-stage payload instead of a second-stage payload, which means criminals are distributing the malware directly as opposed to a downloader.

Further, the report states that up to a million ransomware-infected messages were delivered in as few as six days at the start of the month.

The ransomware families that are being distributed include: Avaddon (a new family), Buran, Darkgate, Philadelphia, Mr. Robot and Ranion, each of which "encrypts the victim's files and holds them ransom for a payment,” the company says.

While some ransomware takes advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, spreading the malicious files through fake Covid-19 results, others opted for an older, more traditional approach: threatening the victim with fake images.

Ransomware is currently considered one of the most devastating types of malware. Businesses are advised to educate their employees on the dangers of phishing, regularly refresh data backups and set up advanced cybersecurity solutions.