At the beginning of the year, we had made a prediction that in 2019, the synergistic threats will multiply, requiring the combined responses. In the context stated, the attacks are usually centred on the use of one threat, with bad actors concentrating their efforts on iterating and as well as evolving one threat at a time for effectiveness and evasion. Once an attack has been detected, it is then classified as Ransomware and defences are put in place, at which point, the attack’s success rate is then reduced. Nevertheless, if an attacker uses various attack vectors synergistically working together, this makes the defence panorama more and more complex, acting as a smokescreen and making the ultimate objective of the attack unknown or really difficult to identify. Not quite fortunate it is that our observations are holding true having cybercriminals purchasing the toolkits from dark web markets in the bid to make their attacks more sophisticated in the pursuit of greater profits and as well as efficiency.

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) has been gaining importance for some time amongst the cybercriminals in underground markets. It is possible to buy into affiliate schemes with ransomware strains such as GandCrab where the cybercriminals gain a percentage of the profits that have been extorted from victims in exchange for distributing the malicious code. In the world of ransomware that creates difficulties for the organizations, the recently defunct GandCrab had a worrying reputation for always paying their debts alike the Lannisters in Game of Thrones. These affiliate schemes often fall down due to a lack of trust in the community; nevertheless, GandCrab seemingly has turned the tables on this by coming across as dependable when handling their customer relationships.

It is worth remembering that it was just last year that the McAfee Advanced Threat Research team found out that it was possible to buy RDP access keys to a major international airport’s security and also building automation systems for the fee of just $10USD.

The most successful Cyber security projects that often come to notice is the No More Ransom project that is one of its kinds in the terms of the collaboration of the private-public collaboration working as the bridge between the cyber security companies and law enforcement in the fight against the ransomware while enabling the victims to retrieve their encrypted data without having to pay the cybercriminals.

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