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When Paying Out Doesn’t Pay Off

- July 11, 2016 - 0 Comments

This blog post was authored by Edmund Brumaghin and Warren Mercer

Summary

Talos recently observed a new ransomware variant targeting users. This ransomware shows that new threat actors are continuing to enter the ransomware market at a rapid pace due to the lucrative nature of this business model. As a result, greater numbers of unique ransomware families are emerging at a faster rate. This sometimes results in complex variants emerging or in other cases, like this one, less sophisticated ones. In many cases these new ransomware threats share little resemblance to some of the more established operations in their approach to infecting systems, encrypting/removing files, or the way in which they attempt to coerce victims into complying with their ransom demands.

Ranscam is one of these new ransomware variants. It lacks complexity and also tries to use various scare tactics to entice the user to paying, one such method used by Ranscam is to inform the user they will delete their files during every unverified payment click, which turns out to be a lie. There is no longer honor amongst thieves. Similar to threats like AnonPop, Ranscam simply delete victims’ files, and provides yet another example of why threat actors cannot always be trusted to recover a victim’s files, even if the victim complies with the ransomware author’s demands. With some organizations likely choosing to pay the ransomware author following an infection,  Ranscam further justifies the importance of ensuring that you have a sound, offline backup strategy in place rather than a sound ransom payout strategy. Not only does having a good backup strategy in place help ensure that systems can be restored, it also ensures that attackers are no longer able to collect revenue that they can then reinvest into the future development of their criminal enterprise.

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