Last year, the headlines from cyber world were decked with the news of ransomware attacks. This year we are hearing relatively less about this cryptographic mischief in the news and not because the number of attacks has been reduced. The reason is ransomware attacks have become so commonplace that they have been internalized by the current cyberspace.
Even with little news coverage, the last month’s ransomware attack on Atlanta’s municipal system has made headline all over the world. The ransomware removal and recovery processes have consumed millions of dollars there and the industry has been reminded once again of the virulence of these cryptovirological attacks.
Advent of Cryptocurrency: A Reason for the Prevalence of Ransomware Attacks
The intent of ransomware attack is to receive money from the targeted victims to restore their locked down files. In traditional sense, the perpetrators can’t collect ransom money without leaving a trail. The fear of getting traced through ransom payments is one of the reasons cyber criminals avoided employing cryptovirology in their attacks in the past.
However, the advent of cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, removed this major obstacle for cybercriminals from launching ransomware attacks. Transactions of Bitcoin are carried out by ensuring complete anonymity which has enabled ransomware operators to collect ransom payments without apprehensions of getting caught.
Former NSA Employee Thinks Phishing is Helping Ransomware Attacks
Oren Falkowitz is a former NSA employee. Falkowitz has now started his own cyber security firm that is majorly focused on mitigating phishing attacks. He thinks that phishing attacks are the core of the majority of ransomware attacks. He is not wrong by any means because 95 percent cases of ransomware attacks are initiated through phishing.
Falkowitz also asserts that ransomware tactics hasn’t changed much from the last year because phishing is continue to be an effective delivery method for cryptographic malwares. He also criticizes the cyber security industry for not focusing on mitigating phishing attacks to prevent ransomware infiltrations.
It is definitely imperative for enterprises to focus on preemptive measures first instead of taking up ransomware removal services following an attack.