Cybercrime and malware, 2019 predictions


Ahh, ransomware, our old foe. After being everyone’s favorite “prediction” for the past few years, ransomware appears to be slowly declining, or at least the major mass-distribution campaigns.

In an email from Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, at Sophos, the expert he sees ransomware becoming more targeted, and attackers only focusing on major targets, like businesses and government agencies, the ones most likely to pay ransom demands.

“The authors of opportunistic ransomware operate similar to a penetration tester in the way they scope out the network, looking for vulnerabilities and weak entry points. However, unlike penetration testers, cybercriminals then act on their findings in a methodical way to inflict maximum damage. They stake out victims, move laterally throughout the network, manipulate internal controls, and more,” the expert told ZDNet.

“This human-centered approach has proved successful, with the authors of SamSam ransomware collecting $6.7m over the course of almost three years. Other cybercriminals have taken note, and in 2019 we will see more and more copycat attacks. In particular, Matrix, which appears to be constantly approved upon with new versions, and Ryuk, which is geared toward enterprises and large organizations that have the funds to pay up, will be strains to watch out for,” the expert told us.



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