Killware: The most dangerous Evolution of Ransomware
“Classic” ransomware attacks encrypt a victim’s data and then demand a ransom to decrypt it. Cybercriminals began forcing victims to pay ransom not only to get their data back but to keep it from being released or sold publicly. Businesses will continue to be attacked by threat actors who will mutate.
1. Killware raises the alert level in the healthcare industry ⛑
Killware is a ransomware attack that can result in physical harm, including death, if a ransom is not paid. Cybercriminals are raising the stakes in this manner to put more pressure on victims to pay the ransom. The attack on Springhill Medical Center in Alabama demonstrated just how detrimental killware could be.
In the worst-case scenario, cybercriminals may be able to manipulate data or even the way a device works if they hack into the WiFi networks or systems to which these devices are connected. This could potentially expose the PII of millions of users or even be deadly.
2. Fighting this new threat with good security hygiene 🔐
To protect against potential killware attacks, organizations need to take the proper precautions and practice good cybersecurity hygiene, regardless of industry. Fortunately, most IT security teams should find that they are on their way to a powerful killware defense, as the strategies necessary to defend against this new type of threat aren’t that different from what organizations should do to guard against other types of cyberattacks.
Here are four things to keep in mind:
2.1 Focus on security basics — they form the basis of a comprehensive cyber defense program.
2.2 Integrate application security into the development process from the beginning
2.3 Develop a threat model and enforce it.
2.4 Construct an incident response (IR) plan and practice it.
3. Seeing the bigger picture 👣
Successful kill-ware attacks will likely attract the attention of the US government and law enforcement agencies, and they will be forced to respond. Cybercriminals don’t want that kind of publicity. Ultimately, they do not wish for government scrutiny or to take lives, which I believe will keep this threat at bay.