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Ransomware sees major resurgence

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene)

Ransomware is trendy again, according to a new repot from McAfee which says that new ransomware (opens in new tab) samples increased by 118 per cent in the first quarter of 2019. It also states that it had observed “shifts” in initial access vectors, campaign management and “technical innovations in the code”.

Looking at the targets, McAfee says ransomware (opens in new tab)attacks increasingly targeted exposed remote access points, such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). These can be brute-forced or bought on the dark web. With RDP credentials, hackers get admin access, which makes it that much easier to spread and execute malware.

Most active ransomware families (opens in new tab)are Dharma (aka Crysis), GandCrab (Yes, the deceased one. This zombie is still terrorising businesses everywhere) and Ryuk.

“After a periodic decrease in new families and developments at the end of 2018, the first quarter of 2019 was game on again for ransomware, with code innovations and a new, much more targeted approach” said Christiaan Beek, McAfee lead scientist and senior principal engineer.

“Paying ransoms supports cybercriminal businesses and perpetuates attacks. There are other options available to victims of ransomware. Decryption tools and campaign information are available through tools such as the No More Ransom project.”

Another popular type of cyberattack which includes cryptocurrency in one way or another is cryptojacking, where computers are “hijacked” to mine cryptocurrency for the attackers.

Coin mining malware is up 29 per cent for the quarter, McAfee says, adding that it also spotted CookieMiner – malware targeting Apple users and going after their wallet credentials.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.