By Author: by Caitlyn-Rae Arendse, Security Television Network
September 2, 2021 (Security Television Network) — Reporting (Security Television Network)—The future of our safety is in our hands and on our screens, as the United States and several other countries battle against cyber threats daily made by the newest form of online international criminals: Ransomware gangs. Ransomware, or the growing form of malware that can be placed upon files and systems that can make them incapable of use. The nation has seen several cyber ransomware breaches this past year, including claims of attempted breach of the Republican National Committee, to the hacking of the Colonial Gas Pipeline, and even wiped a small town in Maryland off the Internet entirely.
As threats surrounding ransomware unfold, we are now learning of a new term within the community of cyber security: Ransomware Gangs—describing groups of cyber hackers who team up and attack multiple individuals online at the same time as a collective. Many high-ranking officials and professionals who specialize in computer science and the cyber-world say that these ransomware gangs are vast in size and must be brought to the attention of the public in order to learn more about computer safety.
Dr. Theodore Allen, Associate Professor of Integrated Systems Engineering and Computer Science Engineering at The Ohio State University, believes that many people in the west do not know the large threat of cyber ransomware gangs and what they pose. “I use data to help people find out how to defend themselves”
“I use data to help people find out how to defend themselves”
“I have read a series of articles… about the growing ecosystem and maturity level of ransomware organizations. Some seem less like games and more like software companies… many of us in the West seem remarkably oblivious to world conflicts and their effects” Allen said.
Allen continues to say that the gangs have business/organizational-like features, adopting more of a professional and organized nature to ensure successful hacking.
“Some ransomware organizations have customer relations and government support (if only implicit)” Allen said.
Evaluating these organized cyber-gangs, their recruitment strategies and hacking techniques can help educate the public to organize themselves and ensure their computers and data are as protected as possible.
INSIDE THE GANGS: BABUK LOCKER, DARKSIDE, LOCKBIT Three Major ransomware gangs: Babuk Locker, Darkside and Lockbit, have been in the news heavily lately, all accused of running computer schemes that have left users incapable of accessing their own data.
Babuk Locker Ransomware, founded in 2021, has about five different enterprises, paying their ‘gang-member’ hackers up to $85,000 dollars if their hacks on institutions, such as plastic, healthcare and electronics, are successful.
Babuk Locker Ransomware creators use hacking techniques that check if services on the computer or technology they are hacking, and if processes are running, in order to kill a predetermined list of data and avoid being caught in the process.
Darkside Ransomware, first discovered late 2020, is a ransomware gang that is operated by currently unknown forces. This gang sends users a note (pictured below), on their computer that forces them to pay a large ransom in order to get the virus removed from their computers and technology services.
The note displayed above states that you must download and install a browser, so that you are able to pay the ransom and save your files from being lost in the process.
Lockbit Ransomware, uses Operation Disruption, extortion and data theft to accomplish data breaches in exchange for large sums of money. Lockbit, the oldest of the three companies, began breaches in September of 2019, and encrypted users files worldwide. Lockbit attacks using the Exploit, Infiltrate, Deploy Method, and aims for weaknesses/vulnerabilities within the system. Pictured: The Lockbit Ransomware Logo used for data breaches.
Security companies recommend strong passwords and being careful of the specific files you click on when downloading files and images online. WORKING TO END FAST-PACED BREACHES
Knowing that these three groups are some of many ransomware gangs attempting to gather and threaten large amounts of data, how can our future security and technology interested students and current workers help end these fast-past breaches?
Professor Allen says there are many ways to protect our systems by educating our future cyber-protectors: students.
“One, Teaching coding practices with checks that avoid vulnerabilities. This is not as difficult as it might seem and is occurring at a large scale now. Two, Making better methods to prioritize, patch, and/or remediate vulnerabilities. Three, Social engineering training and methods research might improve to harden against phishing and spear phishing… Four, Additional research relating to zero trust networks and concepts” he said.
Allen also acknowledged the importance of looking at all aspects of current problems within cyber security threats, not just ransomware related.
“It is not the only threat. There are many attacks that do not involve ransomware (almost surely the majority). Also, the spread of misinformation and pitting citizens against each other is likely a more consequential threat. A great book on the subject is “Like War “, he said.
“As we become increasingly digitized in a fast future, the best ways to protect yourself include (1) avoiding giving away personal information to requests, (2) avoid clicking on attachments, (3) travel to reputable websites and avoid many types of video downloads, and (4) consider using endpoint protection possibly in addition to antivirus” Allen continues.
Americans need to listen carefully about tactics and updates related to ransomware breaches on your daily news platforms.
This article, any quotes and videos, are all opinions on behalf of Dr. Theodore Allen, they are not affiliated with The Ohio State University or factSpread. Security Companies who provide Ransomware Assistance: IBM ESet Coalfire Deep Instinct DarkTrace Kroll
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Dr. James Halldrhall@security20.com(202) 607-2421