Hackers Use Number of Legitimate Tools in Ransomware Attacks

Hackers Use Number of Legitimate Tools in Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks remain a formidable challenge for organizations worldwide.

These attacks not only encrypt critical data, rendering it inaccessible to the rightful owners but increasingly involve the exfiltration of sensitive information. 

This dual-threat approach amplifies the potential damage, as attackers not only demand ransom for the decryption key but also threaten to release the stolen data unless additional payment is made.

A critical aspect of these attacks that often goes unnoticed is the use of legitimate tools by hackers to carry out their nefarious activities.

Symantec researcher’s report delves into the phenomenon, highlighting the tools commonly repurposed by cybercriminals.

Data exfiltration refers to the unauthorized transfer of data from a computer or server.

In the context of ransomware attacks, it serves a dual purpose.

Initially, it adds an extra layer of coercion, as the attackers threaten to publish the stolen data if their demands are not met.

Secondly, it provides an additional revenue stream, as this data can be sold on the dark web or used in further targeted attacks.

The sophistication of these operations has increased, with attackers leveraging legitimate administrative and security tools to avoid detection and facilitate their malicious activities.


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List of Legitimate Tools Used in Ransomware Attacks

The use of legitimate tools by hackers complicates the detection and prevention of ransomware attacks.

These tools, designed for system administration, network management, and security assessments, are repurposed to conduct reconnaissance, gain persistence, escalate privileges, and exfiltrate data, reads Symantec report.

PowerShell: A powerful scripting language and command-line shell, PowerShell is often used by attackers for its ability to execute scripts and commands across the network, automate tasks, and manage configurations.

Its widespread availability on Windows systems makes it a favored tool for initiating attacks and moving laterally across networks.

PsExec: Part of the Sysinternals Suite, PsExec allows administrators to execute processes on other systems remotely.

Hackers use it to spread malware across networked computers, execute ransomware payloads, and maintain persistence within the compromised environment.

Mimikatz: This open-source utility is designed to extract plaintext passwords, hash, PIN codes, and Kerberos tickets from memory.

Attackers commonly use Mimikatz to escalate privileges and gain access to high-value targets within the network.

Cobalt Strike: Although intended as a security tool for penetration testers, Cobalt Strike has been adopted by cybercriminals for its robust set of features for network reconnaissance, exploitation, and the deployment of payloads.

Its beacon component is particularly useful for maintaining communication with compromised systems.

Rclone: Rclone is a command-line program to manage files on cloud storage. It has been repurposed by attackers for data exfiltration, leveraging its capabilities to efficiently transfer large volumes of data to cloud services under their control.

7-Zip: A file archiver with a high compression ratio, 7-Zip is used by attackers to compress stolen data before exfiltration.

This reduces the bandwidth required for the transfer and helps evade detection by minimizing the number of outbound connections.

WinRAR: Similar to 7-Zip, WinRAR is another compression tool used to package data before exfiltration.

Its widespread use and support for various compression formats make it a versatile tool for attackers.

Advanced IP Scanner: This network scanner allows for quick identification of all devices on a network.

Attackers use it to map out the network, identify potential targets, and plan their attack vectors.

The use of legitimate tools in ransomware attacks presents a unique challenge for cybersecurity professionals.

These tools are often whitelisted within organizations, making malicious activities harder to detect. 

It underscores the importance of robust network monitoring, the principle of least privilege, and continuous education on the evolving tactics of cyber adversaries.

By understanding the tools and methods used by attackers, organizations can better prepare their defenses against the multifaceted threat of ransomware.

With Perimeter81 malware protection, you can block malware, including Trojans, ransomware, spyware, rootkits, worms, and zero-day exploits. All are incredibly harmful and can wreak havoc on your network.

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The post Hackers Use Number of Legitimate Tools in Ransomware Attacks appeared first on GBHackers on Security | #1 Globally Trusted Cyber Security News Platform.

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Author: Guru baran