SDN Blog

Ransomware is a profitable weapon for cyber criminals

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2016 in Uptime University , Cybersecurity

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Ransomware a profitable crime

No wonder ransomware has become so common. Deploying it is a profitable business for cyber criminals.

Ransomware is a form of malware thieves use to digitally extort money from businesses and individuals.

Hackers infiltrate computer networks to jumble file contents or lock computer users out of their systems. Then they demand payment in anonymous, online currency to restore victims’ access to networks or programs.

Victims who can’t replicate their information often pay up because law enforcement organizations across the world haven’t been able to provide much help.

The Cyber Threat Alliance issued a report last October indicating an advanced form of ransomware, CryptoWall Version 3, had generated more than $325 million in revenue during its life cycle.

The “Lucrative Ransomware Attacks: Analysis of the CryptoWall Version 3 Threat” report says there have been nearly 407,000 attempted CryptoWall infections globally.

"The explosion of connected devices and our reliance on digital platforms has created an environment that is both empowering and creating new ways for adversaries to penetrate networks. Managing this risk is a shared responsibility. We need to step forward, and not wait for the adversary to make the move first,” said Derek Manky, a global security strategist with Fortinet.

Fortinet is a prominent cyber security company. SDN Communications is one of the company’s regional re-sellers. Experts from both organizations are speaking on ransomware at upcoming breakfast seminars in Sioux Falls and Sioux City.

SDN is hosting the Uptime University: Rise of Ransomware events. They’re free and because of high interest levels, SDN has doubled its space for the Sioux Falls event. However registration for both events closes Thursday at Noon.

The seminar in Sioux Falls is scheduled for May 24 and the one in Sioux City is the next day on May 25. In both cities, activities will begin with check-in and free breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The program will begin at 8 a.m. and last about two hours.

The Sioux City event is being held in cooperation with FiberComm. SDN is a part owner in the company that serves residential and business customers in the Sioux City metropolitan area.

Jake VanDewater, director of managed services and customer premise equipment at SDN, will speak at both seminars.

Three other experts will join VanDewater for a panel discussion: Aaron Hansen, a sales engineer with SDN; Steven Baltz, PMO manager at SDN; and Spence Fasching, a field systems engineer with Fortinet. Dean Putnam, a technical sales engineer at SDN will moderate it.

Four recommendations

Fortinet is a national company known for its high-performance, network-security products, such as firewalls. It’s also one of the cofounders of the Cyber Threat Alliance. The other founding companies were Intel Security, Palo Alto Networks and Symantec Corp.

The alliance’s ransomware report highlights some recommendations designed to help people and organizations from falling victim to ransomware and other advanced forms of malware. Some of the suggestions include:

  • Ensure that operating systems, applications and firmware are updated with the latest versions of software.
  • Understand phishing techniques and how to thwart them Do not open email from unknown email addresses or click on attachments in suspicious files.
  • Keep web browsers updated and turn on settings to disable browser plugins, such as Java, Flash and Silverlight, to prevent them from running automatically.
  • Review access and security policies within corporate networks to limit access to critical infrastructure from systems and users who don’t need it.