A combination of Ransomware and DDoS attacks is heralding a new wave of cyber attacks against consumers and enterprises around the world. Security experts are concerned this may become a standard practice going forward; this is not good news by any means.
Ransomware And DDoS Is A Potent Mix
Over the past few years, ransomware attacks have become the norm rather than an exception. But the people responsible for these attack continue to improve their skills, and infected machines will now start executing distributed denial of service attacks as well. Not only will users not be able to access their files, but the device will also become part of a botnet attacking other computers and networks around the world.
KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman stated:
“Adding DDoS capabilities to ransomware is one of those ‘evil genius’ ideas. Renting out DDoS botnets on the Dark Web is a very lucrative business, even if prices have gone down in recent years. You can expect [bundling] it to become a fast-growing trend.”
One of the first types of ransomware to embrace this new approach is Cerber, a Bitcoin malware strain which has been wreaking havoc for quite some time now. Attacks have been using “weaponized” Office documents to deliver malware to computers, which would then turn into a member of a botnet to DDoS other networks.
While some people see this change as a logical evolution of ransomware attacks, this is a worrying trend, to say the least. Assailants can come up with new ways to monetize their ransomware attacks, even if the victim decides not to pay the fee. As long as the device is infected, it can be used to execute these DDoS attacks, which is a service worth the money to the right [wrong] people.
A recent FireEye report shows how the number of Bitcoin ransomware attacks will exceed 2015 at the rate things are going right now. Now that DDoS capabilities are being added to the mix, it is not unlikely the number of infections will increase exponentially over the next few months. Moreover, removing the ransomware itself is no guarantee computer systems will not be used for DDoS purposes in the future, and only time will tell if both threats can be eliminated at the same time.